The Alabama Supreme Court has upheld a $7.5 million verdict in a slander lawsuit between the owners of two competing car dealerships.
Iranian refugee Shawn Esfahani, who fled the 1980 Islamic revolution in his home country and worked his way up in the car sales business until he became owner of Eastern Shore Toyota, sued a Pensacola competitor for slander in 2011, the Mobile Press-Register reports.
He won in district court after proving that employees of Bob Tyler’s dealership defamed Esfahani to their customers, accusing him of supporting terrorist activity and referring to his business as “Taliban Toyota” and “Middle Eastern Shore Toyota.”
In early December, the state Supreme Court upheld the verdict, keeping the $7.5 million judgment intact.
Describing the defamation as “especially reprehensible, ” the justices wrote, “The Court cannot fathom a worse trifecta of crimes of which to accuse a businessman and his business than treason and funding terrorism and the murder of American soldiers.”
Text by Nedra Bloom