An Alabama jury awarded Iranian-born Shawn Esfahani, a Toyota dealership owner, $7.5 million in damages after a competitor, Bob Tyler Toyota in Pensacola, called his business “Taliban Toyota” and accused him of being a terrorist, reports the Mobile Press-Register
Shawn Esfahani, owner of the mega-dealership, sued Bob Tyler Toyota in Pensacola and its sales manager for slander. Esfahani said that Bob Tyler employees spread false rumors to car shoppers that he was an Iraqi terrorist and supported insurgents in Iraq.
On Monday, the jury ruled in favor of Eastern Shore Toyota and awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
After the verdict, Esfahani said that he hopes the verdict will convince Bob Tyler to “change his way of doing business.”
“It’s very hurtful,” he said. “When you live in this country, you can’t believe someone would accuse you of those things just to sell a car.”
Get the details at the Mobile Press-Register.