KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (CN) - A body shop worker claims a Toyota dealer fired and defamed him because he had evidence that the dealer committed insurance fraud "for the benefit of then University of Tennessee head football coach Lane Kiffin." Kiffin left Tennessee in January this year to become head football coach for the University of Southern California.
Mark Boling says he worked for 19 years as a paint specialist at Toyota of Knoxville, until he was fired on a pretext a year ago.
Boling sued Doug White, who fired him, T&W of Knoxville dba Toyota of Knoxville dba Lexus of Knoxville, and Toyota Motor Sales, in Knox County Court.
Boling claims White fired him on Dec. 28, 2009 after falsely accusing him of making a false warranty claim on a 2009 Lexus. He says that White wrote in a termination notice that he had fired him for fraud.
Boling adds: "White filed false information in opposition to plaintiff Mark Boling's application for unemployment compensation from the Tennessee Department of Employment Security.
"Defendant White made these false statements about plaintiff Mark Boling to place plaintiff in a false light so as to discredit plaintiff Mark Boling because plaintiff Mark Boling discovered evidence of insurance fraud committed by defendant T&W against State Farm Insurance Company that was for the benefit of then University of Tennessee head football coach Lane Kiffin."
Boling claims that the state unemployment board found in May this year "that defendant White's objections were insufficient and held that plaintiff Mark Boling was discharged without cause."
According to Boling's 19-page complaint, the "defendants had given Lane Kiffin a 2009 Lexus LS460 for his permanent personal use with a retail value of approximately $75,000 because Lane Kiffin was the head football coach for the University of Tennessee football team.
"Upon information and belief, Lane Kiffin did not have a valid Tennessee Driver's license.
"Upon information and belief, there was no lease agreement between defendants and Lane Kiffin.
"Upon information and belief, Lane Kiffin did not have liability insurance.
"Upon information and belief, defendants maintained title to the vehicle as a new vehicle in its inventory after the vehicle was loaned to Lane Kiffin for her personal use.
"Upon information and belief, defendants continued to insure the vehicle loaned to Lane Kiffin under defendants' insurance policy with State Farm Insurance."
After pointing out that this, and other elements of the deal, were irregular, and not permitted under the dealer's insurance policy, Boling says, "On August 12, 2009 during the late night hours, Lane Kiffin crashed the vehicle into a ditch and hit a fence, causing damage to personal property.
"Upon information and belief, Andy White, defendants' general manager and son of Doug White, went to the scene of the crash and removed Lane Kiffin in an effort to protect Lane Kiffin from being observed by law enforcement officials at the scene of the collision.
"Upon information and belief, Andy White paid the property owner for the damages caused by Lane Kiffin.
"Upon information and belief, Lane Kiffin left the scene of the accident with Andy White prior to law enforcement arriving, in violation [of] T.C.A. § 55-10-102."
Boling says Kiffin also broke the law by failing to report the accident.