The car business is a tough one. Territorial lines get blurred as brand dealerships have reached further and further for customers since the recession. Bob Tyler once dominated Toyota sales in the region. That was until Eastern Shore Toyota built four yeas ago near Malbis.
Since then, Bob Tyler has had his hands full. Yesterday he lost an expensive lawsuit for unsavory business practices aimed at hurting his new competitor. In Mobile, a federal grand jury awarded $7.5 million ($2.5 million-compensatory damages, $5 million-punitive) to Eastern Shore Toyota owner Shawn Esfahani in his slander lawsuit against Bob Tyler Toyota.
Esfahani had sued Bob Tyler Toyota and its sales manager. He alleged that Bob Tyler Toyota employees often referred to his business as “Middle Eastern Shore Toyota” and “Taliban Toyota” and made references to him being a terrorist.
According to the Mobile Press Register, Esfahani fled from Iran and its Islamic revolution in 1980 at age 16. He first moved to Spain where he learned to read and write English in four months, according to the lawsuit, and he was granted a visa to the United States. He became a U.S. citizen and opened Eastern Shore Toyota in December 2007.
Read more on the verdict.