Saturday 5 November 2011

Say what: Toyota dealer awarded $7.5m in damages

In sales, one will be taught all sorts of dirty techniques to persuade a customer into purchasing a specific product or service. Unfortunately, the sales manager of Bob Tyler Toyota in Pensacola, Florida taught its employees one of the dirtiest; using racist antics against other dealers, of the same brand.

You see, the staff from the Floridian Toyota outlet depicted fellow Iranian-born Shawn Esfahani, who owns Eastern Shore Toyota in Daphne, Alabama, as an Islamist militant to shoppers.

Bob Tyler Toyota sales manager, Fred Kenner apparently said to a couple in 2009 that Esfahani was of Middle Eastern descent and was “helping fund the insurgents there and is also laundering money for them.” Furthermore, the same couple was told by a salesman that “[Esfahani] is funnelling money back to his family and other terrorists. I have a brother over there and what you’re doing is help kill my brother.”

Dubbed the “Taliban Toyota” dealer, as he was named, Esfahani filed a lawsuit for slander and asking $28m (£17.5m/€20.3m) in compensation and damages. The jury ruled in favour of Esfahani and granted him $7.5m (£4.7m/€5.4m) in damages.

“The feeling I received in the courtroom for the truth to come out was worth a lot more than anybody can give me”, said Esfahani.

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