MOBILE, Ala. – An Alabama jury has awarded $7.5 million to an Iranian-born car dealer who sued a Florida competitor for defamation, claiming workers there portrayed him as a terrorist.
A jury in Mobile awarded the judgment Monday to Shawn Esfahani in his lawsuit against Bob Tyler Toyota in Pensacola, Fla. The Iranian-born Esfahani owns Eastern Shore Toyota.
The Press-Register newspaper reports that the man filed suit claiming workers at Bob Tyler Toyota told customers that Esfahani is from the Middle East and was funneling money to terrorists, calling his business “Taliban Toyota.”
A Bob Tyler salesman was accused of telling a couple that Esfahani was from Iraq and calling him a “terrorist” who put soldiers including the salesman’s brother in harm’s way.
“(Esfahani) is funneling money back to his family and other terrorists. I have a brother over there and what you’re doing is helping kill my brother,” the salesman told the couple, according to the suit.
The jury deliberated for three hours before awarding Esfahani $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Word of mouth is a powerful medium, and case law is full of mechants trying to slander and defame competitors for the purposes of trying to deprive them of customers and harm their businesses and reputations.
Esfahani fled Iran in 1980 after the Islamic revolution and is now a U.S. citizen. “The feeling I received in the courtroom for the truth to come out was worth a lot more than any money anybody can give me,” Esfahani told Reuters news service on Tuesday.
Esfahani opened his car dealership in 2007.
A 16-year-old girl in Sioux Falls, S.D., crashed through a wall of the local DMV on Wednesday, as Fox reported. She was arriving to take her written driving test when she pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake and sent the car surging into the building.
The damage to the brick building will be handled through the driver’s insurance.
When she hit the accelerator, the car jumped the curb and created a hole in the brick building, maiming a window frame in the process. The destruction looks as if a wrecking ball hit. Many have speculated that the teen may have been preoccupied with the stress of her test.
Needless to say, the hopeful driver will have to wait until a later point to get that license. Drivers in South Dakota can all breathe a sigh of relief.
A woman dropped her car off at an auto repair shop in Winona, Wis. with a goat tied up in the trunk, according to the WinonaDailyNews.com.
Auto repairman James Prusci, said he popped the trunk to find a goat painted Minnesota Vikings purple and gold, with Brett Farve’s #4 shaved in its side. Appalled, Prusci called animal rescue and officials are considering filing charges against its former owners. The goat has since been adopted.
A Maine man and his car are celebrating a million-mile milestone.
Joe LoCicero was given a 2012 Honda Accord at a parade in the city of Saco on Sunday after surpassing the million-mile mark on the odometer of his 1990 Accord. He reached the milestone last Thursday.
A Honda spokeswoman tells The Portland Press Herald it’s the first time the manufacturer has documented an Accord reaching one million miles.
LoCicero says he bought the car in 1996 with 74,000 miles. The former mechanic did much of his own work. The secret, he says, is following maintenance schedules, using quality parts and driving safely.
He swears the transmission and engine are original.
Now that he has a new Accord, he’s not sure what he’ll do with the old one.
According to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Lt. David Escobar, deputies received numerous calls from residents in the Birnamwood subdivision just west of Humble on Oct. 8, reporting the theft of tailgates.
“The following day, on Oct. 9, one of the victims went on Craigslist to look for a new tailgate for his truck, and he found one that was compatible, for sale by a ‘Mr. Tailgate.'” Escobar said. “The victim called this Mr. Tailgate up and they set up a meeting in the PetSmart parking lot at FM 1960 and I-45. The tailgate would cost $350.”
Escobar said when the victim met with Mr. Tailgate he confirmed that the seller indeed offered a tailgate that seemed to be a perfect match for his King Ranch pickup truck and the deal was sealed. For a little extra assurance, the victim decided to take down the license plate information on the seller’s late-model white Dodge Magnum.
“The victim went home and keeps thinking this really looked a lot like his stolen tailgate. He confirmed it when he compared the anti-theft serial number etched on his vehicle with that on the tailgate he just bought – they matched,” Escobar said. “He put his own key into the tailgate and, what do you know, it worked. That’s when he knew for a fact he had just bought his own tailgate.”
Escobar said the victim was acquainted with another complainant who had his tailgate stolen at the same time and lived in the same neighborhood. He informed his friend of his Craigslist find and the second complainant promptly looked up Mr. Tailgate online.
“He called him up and it turns out Mr. Tailgate happened to have a tailgate for sale that would be a perfect match with his truck,” Escobar said. “They met at Kroger and he bought the tailgate. Although he didn’t have any anti-theft numbers etched into it like the other victim, sure enough, his own key fit.”
The two victims took their evidence to Precinct 4 investigators who, based on the license plate information provided, identified 35-year-old Noel Cabello, of Spring, as a possible suspect. When investigators put his booking photo from a previous arrest in a photo lineup, both victims right away identified Cabello as Mr. Tailgate.
On Oct. 11, armed with an arrest warrant on two felony theft counts, Precinct 4 deputies set up surveillance outside Cabello’s residence in the 23000 block of Banquo, only blocks from the homes of the two victims who helped crack the case and six other complainants who had their tailgates stolen overnight on Oct. 6. Escobar said Cabello was taken into custody when he stepped outside his house.
“He got greedy, he got sloppy,” said Sgt. Wayne Schultz. “He got sloppy, he got caught.”
Deputies obtained written consent to search from Cabello’s wife and, in the garage of his home, found at least 24 tailgates with a combined retail value of at least $50,000.
“When we read him his Miranda warning I asked him how the tailgates got into his garage,” said Schultz. “He said they just appeared there.”
Ram 1500 owner demographics illustrate a love for the outdoors: 30% hunt, 44% fish, 27% are boaters and 42% are campers, Chrysler says.
The Mossy Oak Edition Ram 1500’s tailgate is covered in Mossy Oak Breakup Infinity camouflage pattern and the Mossy Oak logo is prominently displayed on the rear quarter panels.
Inside, the center column of the Ram’s instrument panel is also in camouflage.
The Ram Mossy Oak Edition is available exclusively as a Ram 1500 4×4 Crew Cab model, and is based on the popular Ram Outdoorsman.
Also announced, Ram division is unveiling two more versions of its Ram Power Wagon.
The Power Wagon is a fabled vehicle, an off-shoot of military go-anywhere, all-terrain four-by-fours.
One is an off-road version called the ST and the other is a dressed-up version called the Laramie, shown above. All Power Wagons come with brutish 383-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8s.
What you’ll get:
-Power Wagon Laramie. For a truck known for being as tough as the Power Wagon, the Laramie gets a downright plush outfitting. There will be leather seats, premium audio and dual-zone air conditioning. On the outside, there are fender flares, chrome mirrors, bumpers and grille, and unique badging. Price: $51,995 plus $995 shipping.
-Power Wagon ST. The ST package is a no-frills affair aimed at mining and oil companies and others who need a powerful work truck. You’d better like black: The Ram Power Wagon ST features single-tone paint with a black grille, front/rear bumpers, fender flares and mirrors. Starting price: $42,620 plus $995 for shipping.
Chrysler calls it the “first mass-produced civilian 4×4 truck.”
Enrique Velez and Marta Lily parked their car in a no-standing zone on a NY street, but only so Lily could feed their 6-month old son who had been crying from hunger, according to the New York Times. Despite explaining to the traffic enforcer why they stopped, the couple was hit with a $115 ticket for parking in a commercial no-meter zone, around 2:40 pm. The restriction is lifted at 3 p.m. “He didn’t care,” Mr. Velez told the Times. “We were not blocking anybody. It’s not like we had to move. There were not even cars.”