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Suit Filed After Near-Brawl Over Car Deal


SANTA ANA — Yungfu Hsu and Robert J. Russell thought they had a deal on a new car. But by the time Hsu left the Costa Mesa car dealership where Russell worked, the two men had almost come to blows.

Alleging that car salesman Russell had assaulted, pushed, yelled at and spit on him over an agreement gone sour, Hsu filed a lawsuit in Superior Court on Tuesday against Russell and Orange Coast AMC/Jeep Inc., seeking $100,000 n general damages and an undisclosed sum in punitive damages.

The deal collapsed, Hsu maintained in the suit, when Russell attempted to switch the terms of a new car loan, raising the interest rate at the last moment from 9% to 12.9%.

Hsu alleges that he tried to walk away from the deal but was physically detained and harassed by Russell for three hours, according to court papers and Hsu's attorney, Debra Opri.

Sheldon H. Cohen, attorney for Orange Coast AMC, declined comment Tuesday, saying he has not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.

According to a Costa Mesa Police Department report filed March 8, Russell told an officer that he and Hsu argued heatedly over the interest rate. As Hsu walked away, Russell followed him to his car and continued to talk to him, the report said.

Russell told police that when Hsu got into his car as they continued to haggle over the interest rate, Hsu pushed the car's door into Russell. Hsu verbally threatened Russell, who then spit at him, the salesman said.

Hsu, however, contended in his lawsuit that Russell was the one who tried to shut the door on him, before spitting on him. Neither man sought criminal charges.

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