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African Bio-Botanica, Inc. v. Sally Leiner, T/A Ecco Bella

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
624 A.2d 1003 (1993)


Facts

Ecco Bella Incorporated (Ecco Bella) (defendant) was a New Jersey corporation, and Sally Leiner (defendant) was its only stockholder, president, and director. African Bio-Botanica, Inc. (African) (plaintiff) sold products to Sally Leiner or Ecco Bella first by cash on delivery and then on credit. Deliveries were made to Leiner’s home. African’s paperwork first listed Leiner and later Ecco Bella as the customer. Leiner’s checks and letterhead said only “Ecco Bella” and did not indicate that Ecco Bella was a corporation. According to testimony, African did not know and was never told that Ecco Bella was a corporation. African sued Ecco Bella and Leiner for $1,530 in unpaid bills. The trial judge concluded that African reasonably believed that Ecco Bella was Leiner’s sole proprietorship since Leiner never said otherwise. The judge held that Leiner needed to state that Ecco Bella was a corporation on its letterhead since Ecco Bella never filed a trade name certificate. Leiner was held personally responsible for the full amount, but prejudgment interest was not awarded. Leiner appealed the judgment, and African appealed the denial of interest to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court.

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Holding and Reasoning (Brochin, J.)

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