Gigi Stetler and her company RV Sales of Broward has won a hard-fought battle with General Electric Commercial Distribution Finance (GECDF) for breach of settlement. The jury deliberated for four hours before handing over the verdict in Broward County, Florida, on September 6th.
“So many people thought I was crazy to go up against General Electric and thought we would never win against such a big company,” said Stetler, CEO of RV Sales of Broward. “It was like a batting cage where the ball never stops. But we kept swinging and finally prevailed. We had the truth on our side.”
Stetler represented herself during the eight-day trial. RV Sales of Broward was represented by Peter Ticktin of The Ticktin Law Group. The trial was delayed at one point because of Hurricane Dorian.
The case goes back to 2008, when GECDF, the former finance company for RV Sales of Broward, erroneously audited Stetler’s company and removed her entire RV inventory without cause. Despite GE admitting it was a simple auditing mistake, the damage had been done.
Overnight, RV Sales of Broward went from a booming, profitable business to one saddled with $11.5 million in debt. Stetler’s RV inventory ended up in the possession of Stetler’s competitor Camping World and was even rented to some of Stetler’s former customers.
In 2009, Stetler and GECDF entered arbitration over the case. It went to trial in 2011, and on the fourth day the two parties reached an undisclosed settlement agreement. Stetler also agreed to drop a class action lawsuit claiming GECDF wrongfully charged thousands of RV dealers hundreds of millions of dollars in interest.
But in March 2013, GECDF had yet to fulfill its side of the settlement, so Stetler and RV Sales were forced to file another lawsuit in Broward County against the corporate giant for breach of settlement agreement.
“We have endured an incredible amount of corporate bullying and endless foot dragging to rack up legal bills and get me to back down,” said Stetler. “But I’m not going to let GE or anyone else push me around. I was forced to rebuild my entire company because of a corporate error and I just want what is fairly mine, nothing more.”
Stetler recently launched RV Advisor, an online resource designed to effectively connect RV owners, dealers and service centers through a mobile-friendly platform.