DENVER (AP) — A Colorado judge chided a welding company that tried to pay off a $23,500 settlement with a subcontractor by sending the money in loose coins that weighed 3 tons (2.7 metric tonnes).
Judge Joseph Findley ruled Monday that JMF Enterprises "acted maliciously and in bad faith" by delivering a custom made metal box containing the coins that was too heavy to be carried in the freight elevator at the offices for Fired Up Fabrications' lawyers, let alone with the forklift required to carry it, according to court filings.
Findley ordered JMF to pay by a more conventional method like a check. He also said JMF would now have to write a larger one — to pay an extra estimated $8,092 to cover legal fees for the ensuing dispute over whether it had the right to pay in coins.
One of the subcontractor's lawyers, Danielle Beem, told Denver's KCNC-TV, which first reported the judge's order, that the coin payment was a "symbolic middle finger."
Lawyers for JMF said the settlement agreement did not specify how the money was to be paid and said it had no intention of harassing Fired Up Fabrications, noting that both parties were "very close friends" before the lawsuit.
"The form of the settlement in this case is a reference to their shared career field and is intended to satisfy the settlement, albeit in an uncommon form," they said in a September court filing.
Findley said photographic evidence showed JMF apparently took the extra step of taking coins separated in boxes by denomination and then "dumping them loosely and randomly" into the container.
"The amount of time and expense required to remedy the payment attempt would have the effect of significantly reducing and offsetting the net amount of the settlement to be received by Plaintiff in the form of costs and inconvenience," Findley said.