Lawyers representing Fresno, Calif.-based Paul Evert’s RV Country said Wednesday (Jan. 22) the dealership will appeal a $4.5 million defamation judgment against the company and some of its employees, according to a report by the Fresno Bee.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jeff Hamilton ruled that Paul Evert’s RV Country and three of its employees — owner Paul Evert, vice president and general manager Charles Curtis and finance manager Aaron Lyon — tried to put Bob Brewer’s companies, which included Clovis RV and Fresno RV, out of business by spreading rumors they were under investigation by state regulators.

On Wednesday, the law firm Wild, Carter & Tipton said in a statement that Paul Evert’s RV Country “denies that it engaged in such activity.” The statement added that “it is Paul Evert’s RV Country’s contention that this case — and the conduct in question — largely revolves around fraudulent, unauthorized acts by third party, Aaron Lyon.”

According to the statement, Lyon had convinced Paul Evert’s RV Country that Brewer was engaging in fraudulent business practices.

“It is believed that Paul Evert’s RV Country was largely targeted because of its deep pockets and that the punitive damages in excess of four million are excessive,” the statement said.

In his initial ruling last October, Hamilton concluded that Fresno RV had been defamed and awarded the company $500,000 in damages. Last Friday, Hamilton awarded $4.08 million in punitive damages. Evert was ordered to pay $3 million, Curtis’s share was $1 million and Lyon was ordered to pay $80,000.

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