Neighborhood Bully Must Pay $1.6 Million to Three Families
Bullying has been exposed recently as a major problem among school-aged children. Apparently some bullies never grow out of it, and go on to get married, buy a house, and become the Neighbor From Hell.
52 year-old Richard “Blinkie” Karnes taunted, harassed, and made life miserable for his neighbors in Florida until several of them sued him for assault and defamation and emotional distress.
Neighbors testified Karnes cursed at them, spread sexual rumors about them, ran over a handyman and threatened to kill others and throw their bodies in a nearby canal.
According to Jon Parrish, who represented the neighbors, his clients repeatedly called out sheriff deputies but they did nothing, saying it was their word against Karnes’, or arresting him briefly but then letting him go.
One couple, Anna and Leo Popour, both 74 years old, moved to the quiet fishing village of Goodland, Fla. hoping to live out a peaceful retirement.
Instead, they were targeted by Karnes who sprayed a chemical on Leo and repeatedly cursed at Anna and questioned her about sexual acts. The jury awarded $1.1 million to the couple as part of the overall award.
“There was no way to stop him. That’s the reason we filed the lawsuit. It was escalating. We couldn’t take it anymore,” Anna said.
Jurors also awarded Chris Kohlmeyer $35,000 who was 15 years old when the harassment started.
Karnes and his wife Lisa were ordered to pay over half a million dollars for assaulting repair man Jay McMillen and interfering with his business by repeatedly filing false complaints to government agencies that forced McMillen to stop repairs and lose 20 percent of his revenues.
“The [neighbors] came to me because they weren’t getting any relief,” Parris said. “The guy was relentless. He wouldn’t quit. The objective was to make him stop and get him to leave. They just wanted to live in peace.”