Last year, a senior citizen named Jay Smithston (name protected) was walking into a printer's shop in North Hollywood. Before he could get to the door, a strapping karate-trained fellow twenty years younger than he, named Victor Bodo, screamed and cursed Mr. Smithston for allegedly parking in his space.
When Mr. Smithston pointed out that all the spaces were unmarked and that he had every right to place his car there, Bodo viciously attacked the older man with flying kicks and punches to the head. Bodo then tried to gouge out Smithston's eye by taking a handful of keys and raking them across Smithston's face from the center of his forehead all the way to Smithston's earlobe. It left a mark as if a hot poker had dug into Smithston's face. Additionally, Smithston was knocked down, kicked and punched repeatedly by Bodo who was now in his full kung-fu glory, all the while cursing and screaming that he would kill Smithston.
Somehow, Smithston fumbled to his feet and made it the extra yard or so to the door of the printer's shop where he was able to dial 911. The police arrived and took pictures, both of Smithston and the clearly UNMARKED parking space. To cover himself, a very UNINJURED Bodo claimed that it was the bleeding Smithston who attacked him!
Since there were no witnesses at the time, Smithston's criminal charges against Bodo went nowhere. Then, remarkably, a man who was nearby but too afraid to act, came forward and admitted seeing the whole thing. About the same time, Smithston's lawyer was in negotiations for setting up an arbitration with Bodo's lawyer who represented Bodo's insurance company - Farmers.
Smithston's witness was himself an elderly man who was suffering a formidable case of cancer. Rather than settle forthwith, Farmers Insurance used the dishonorable method of delaying tactics and simply waited for the witness to drop dead. And so the witness did which freed Bodo and his attorney to claim that Smithston again had no witness and thus no case against Bodo. Victor Bodo, it should be noted at this point had a reputation for violence in and around the business complex where he has a child's clothing line. The owner of the printer's shop himself acknowledged having a run in with Bodo in the past and called him a "lunatic" who runs around screaming that all the public parking spaces are his.
Back to the dead witness. He had a very much alive daughter who happened to be with him at the time and now she is stepping forward to complete the process her father had begun - to see justice done.
Now that Smithston lost his attorney and is representing himself, Farmers Insurance attorney Neil H. Brown of Early, Maslach, Price & Baukol in Los Angeles has been playing hardball with the elderly gent. Mr. Brown has refused to abide by an arbitration proceeding which previously had been authorized and he refuses to return calls by Mr. Smithston who is now trying to negotiate for himself. The last offer for settlement made by Mr. Brown on behalf of Farmers Insurance was for mere pennies that would barely have covered Mr. Smithston's medicals, instead of the previously discussed $75,000 that would have been the proposed amount discussed during the arbitration.
Farmers Insurance President Martin Fenstein and VP of Communications Jeff Beyer have refused all comments on this case as has Neil H. Brown, the attorney representing Mr. Bodo's prehistoric behavior.
This is not simply a case of a man fighting an insurance company. This is a case whereby a criminal such as Victor Bodo maintains insurance to protect himself against criminal charges against him. In rushes the insurance company, its dirty fists clutched around dirty money, its lawyers laughing in the face of an injured senior citizen who seeks nothing more than justice.
Farmers Insurance is no different from the smarmy legal brigades who would represent the Mafia or the Colombia drug cartel.
In this case, Farmers will take its dirty money premiums from crazy lunatics like Victor Bodo who would try to kill someone over a stupid parking place.
Who's worse - Victor Bodo - an obviously mentally deranged individual - or Farmers Insurance a company that would rather see the likes of Victor Bodo walking the street rather than upright citizens like Mr. Smithston?
If you wish to voice your disgust at a disgusting system and situation: Please contact your local Farmers Insurance agent or Neil H. Brown of Early, Maslah, Price & Baukol located at 700 South Flower St. - Suite 2800, Los Angeles, CA 90017 - telephone (213) 615-2564; fax (213) 615-2698. Or you may wish to express your disgust at Martin Fenstein or Jeff Beyer at (323) 932-3200.
Citizens for Justice has posted this story as a service to Mr. Jay Smithston who we believe has suffered greatly at the hands of Victor Bodo and is now again suffering at the hands of Farmers Insurance, a company that does not comprehend the meaning of fairness.