MASON CITY — A Mason City car dealer testified in a civil suit Wednesday that an angry customer kicked him in the head when he didn’t return a down payment in a timely fashion.
Paul and Tammie Garber of Nora Springs are suing Bill Lyons Car Co. and General Manager Jeremiah Hosmer for fraud, civil assault and battery.
Hosmer said Paul Garber entered his office on April 28, 2011, and expressed his “frustration” that Hosmer wouldn’t give him a check for the $27,708 Garber’s wife had put down on a 2009 Winnebago motor home.
Hosmer said he told Garber he couldn’t write him a check for at least a week until the cashier’s check Tammie Garber had given him cleared the bank.
“I told him he has no integrity. It was a heated conversation which was totally legal,” Hosmer testified.
Hosmer’s attorney Joel Yunek asked what happened next.
“He came around the desk and kicks me right in the head.”
Hosmer said he grabbed Garber’s leg, pulling him off balance.
“I’m basically outgunned. At that point, it’s full defense mode to which I am entitled,” Hosmer said.
He said he acted in self defense.
“It was no-holds barred. I have to stop this deal for my own safety.”
Members of Hosmer’s staff pulled him off Garber, Hosmer said.
Garber’s attorney Jason Springer pointed out a statement in Hosmer’s deposition where he said he kept hitting Garber until he quit moving.
Garber testified Hosmer started the altercation by punching him in the face. The April 28 visit was the second time that week Garber had come to the dealership to get the down payment back.
“He (Hosmer) was just ranting and raving, out of control, as far as I was concerned,” Garber testified Wednesday.
Garber said as he went to leave Hosmer punched him.
Garber’s attorney Jason Springer asked his client if he was sure he was punched.
“Either that or lightning struck me,” he said. “The room spun and all I could see is my glasses hitting the window.”
Garber said Hosmer repeatedly struck him in the head, abdomen and neck. The next thing he remembers is waking up at the hospital.
Tammie Garber bought the $76,000 motor home on April 22 following a disagreement with her husband. When she went home and told him about the purchase, Paul told her they couldn’t afford it and they went to see Hosmer to see about getting out of the deal.
Tammie Garber also took the witness stand Wednesday, detailing her history of depression and repeated hospitalizations for mental problems.
At the time she purchased the motor home, Garber was employed as a nurse’s aide at Good Samaritan Society in St. Ansgar for 30 hours per week making about $11 an hour. The monthly payments on the motor home would have run $1,089.
The Garbers are seeking payment of Paul Garber’s medical bills and punitive damages.
The defense will call one additional witness Thursday morning before the case goes to the jury.