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NOTEWORTHY RULINGS & PENDING CASES

NOTEWORTHY RULINGS & PENDING CASES

1. Dillon v. Farmers Ins. of Columbus, Inc., 2014-Ohio-431 where Farmers Insurance was liable for treble damages of $4,653.21, attorney fees of $20,540.00 and expenses of $3,989.38 for failure to receive written consent to use non-OEM parts to repair their policyholder’s damaged vehicle.
Watch the Ohio Supreme Court, February, 24th 2015 proceedings live from the court room.

a. Amicus Brief from the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers

 

2. State of Louisiana vs. State Farm Insurance – Louisiana Attorney General complaint;

 

3. MVB Collision, Inc. v Allstate (SDNY)

a. Oral Ruling granting/denying Mtn in Limine to preclude Dr. Jennings testifying regarding shop damages– Allstate claimed type of damages shop sought were not recoverable under NY General Business Law (N.Y. G.B.L.) § 349 (Judge Bianco disagreed.)

b. Journal entry documenting oral ruling 3/13/14;

c. Journal entry clarifying Dr Jennings could testify to his “insurer market share v. single shop share of revenue” theory appropriate for jury consideration under NY GBL § 349 3/25/14;

d. P Ex 3 Allstate Ins estimate w/ disguised additional labor rate (line item concession at end of estimate);

e. A Method of Estimating the Cost of Auto Insurer Monopsony Power Abuse – this is DR Jennings’ M/R ratio theory that has now been Peer Reviewed and accepted.

f. NY AG Antitrust commentary to Antitrust Modernization Commission (MCF exemption and state law issues);

 

4. Crawford Collision Center v. State Farm et al – IL federal RICO complaint;

 

5. (24) Body Shops v. State Farm, Progressive, Allstate, Nationwide, Geico, USAA, Safeco, Shelter, General Direct, MS Tortious Interference, Unjust Enrichment complaint;

 

6. State Farm Insurance (Parts Trader – Mandated Parts Procurement Program – Injunction) – MS

 

7. Artie’s Auto Body v. Hartford Ins et al – 2003 initiated state class action on labor rate suppression and unfair/deceptive trade practices;
a. Initial Complaint 7 9 03;
b. Class cert trial court ruling (Arties Class Cert pdf);
c. CT Supreme Court order affirming class certification – damages based on Dr. Fred Jennings’ economic analysis –Arties Auto Hartford CTSC 20 pdf;
d. Trial court ruling awarding $20M in punitive damages (Memorandum of Decision on P’s Mtn Punitives 6 5 13).

 

8. A & R Autobody v. Progressive – federal district court CT
a. Original Complaint;
b. Amended Complaint;
c. Various Pleadings/motions/responses available before confidentiality order went into effect;

 

9. Blue Ash Autobody v. Progressive – Ohio state class action (First Amended Complaint refilled case 11/30/12)

 

10. Westfall v. Progressive – Ohio state class action(Class Action Complaint Jan 14)

CASE DECISIONS BY STATE

CONNECTICUT

All Pro Collision Repair & Sales, LLC v Erhardt, Hartford, CT, Superior Court, Case # SCC-322032 (Feb. 8, 2011)
Independent collision repair facility accepted Assignment of Claim from third party (not at-fault driver) for additional charges refused to be paid by at-fault driver’s insurer for repairs to vehicle. Charges for repair work at $68.95/body labor and paint labor, $90/ mechanical labor, and $79.55/frame labor were reasonable and necessary in marketplace and Allstate’s across-the-board rate of $48 was not.

Cassella v. Lenches, New Haven, CT, Superior Court, Case #CV 08-5020898 S (Dec. 9, 2010)
Third party (not at-fault driver) entitled to cost to repaint entire vehicle, not merely damaged panels, and to recover for inherent diminished value accruing to vehicle caused by negligence of defendant.

NEW YORK

Nick’s Garage, Inc. d/b/a/ Nick Orso’s Body Shop & Service Center v. Nationwide Insurance, Syracuse, NY Syracuse City Court, Case # (Index #) 2008-00009 CV (July 11, 2011)
Collision repair facility had standing to sue Insurer via Assignments of Proceeds/Claim to recover against insureds’ carrier for full cost of vehicles’ repair.

Nick’s Garage, Inc. d/b/a/ Nick Orso’s Body Shop & Service Center v. Adirondack Insurance Exchange, Onondaga Cty, NY, Onondaga Cty. Court, Case # (Index #) 2008-9681 (June 2, 2010)
Collision repair facility’s use of an Assignment of Proceeds/Claim to recover against an insurer for underpayment of necessary costs to properly and safely repair vehicle.

Mass v. Melymont, 1 Misc. 3d 906A, 781 N.Y.S. 2d 625 (Nassau Cty., NY 2003)
Plaintiff (third party claimant) entitled to recover full amount charged by collision repair facility rather than lesser amount identified by USAA as appropriate amount to repair vehicle. Court found collision repairer facility’s charges of $50/body, $50/refinish, $55/mechanical, and $55/frame to be reasonable. USAA’s proposed reimbursement rates of $38 to $42 not acceptable.

OHIO

Goldfarb v. Grange Mutual Ins. Co., Chardon Municipal Court, Chardon, OH, Case #2014 CV I 00137 (Apr. 10, 2014)

Misrepresentation of auto body repair facility and failure to pay for established labor and paint & materials rates

Henn v. Stoneberger, Mason Municipal Court, Warren Cty., OH, Case #83-CVE-86 (Oct. 13, 1983)

Not at-fault driver entitled to recover “fair and reasonable value of repairs” from at-fault driver, and $28/labor rate was fair and reasonable. Plaintiff’s obligation to minimize damages did not “necessitate use of lowest possible labor rate in community”. Therefore, Plaintiff not limited to $16/labor rate urged by defendant.

Hermann v. Permanent General Ins. Co., Coshocton Cty. Municipal Court, Coshocton, OH, Case #CVE1100229(Sep. 16, 2011)

Insurer directly liable to consumer via Ohio’s aftermarket parts statute for preparing estimate including use of imitation parts, but failing to obtain consumer’s express, written authorization for use of those parts. Insurers’ exemption to consumer protection law not applicable when insurer engaged in activity outside “core business of insurance.”Act of issuing repair estimate is “business of auto repair shops not insurance companies.” Insurer found liable for treble damages and payment of attorney fees.

VERMONT

Berg vs. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Berks County Pennsylvania, Case # 98-813 (June 12, 2014)

Defendant’s unfounded refusal to pay a valid claim because it was not economically advantageous to it, the risk of harm to Plaintiffs and the public by allowing a structurally unsound vehicle to be operated and travelling on public roads, and the tremendous obstacles, including concealment of evidence, erected by Defendant which forced Plaintiffs and their counsel to endure more than eighteen years of litigation to achieve justice:.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Parker’s Classic Auto Works, Rutland, VT, Superior Court, Case #s 649-8-10, 650-8-10, 651-8-10(January 12, 2011)

Collision repair facility’s use of an Assignment of Proceeds/Claim to recover against an insurer for underpayment of necessary costs to properly and safely repair vehicle. CASE, ARBITRATION AND PROCEEDING TRANSCRIPTS

CALIFORNIA

Wilkins v. Delross and Mason v. Ellis, Sonoma Cty, CA, Superior Court, Case #s SMC-09-174813 & SMC-09-175738 (Oct. 2009)

Rights of third parties (not at-fault drivers recovering against persons who caused accident) to recover reasonable cost of repair rather than insurer-determined lesser amount. “Reasonableness” connotes a range of charges and rates, not one set rate. (State Farm is the insurer involved.)
Day One Transcript: October 28, 2009
Day Two Transcript: October 29, 2009 (includes Judge Bertoli’s decision, ruling from the bench)

PENNSYLVANIA

Nationwide General Ins. Co. v. Crawford’s Auto Center, Inc., Chester Cty., PA, Court of Common Pleas, Case #10-14174(Aug. 15, 2011)
Insurer sued collision repair facility claiming unjust enrichment in charges relating to a total loss. Repairer’s total charges for storage, towing, and total repair process fee with sales tax was $6,299.48. Insurer paid invoice to secure vehicle, then sued alleging repairer’s total repair process fee of $3,358.00 was unreasonable and “fair and reasonable charge” for work performed was only $545.69. Insurer sought recovery of $2,812.31. Arbitration panel found in favor of collision repair facility.

Desiderio v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Philadelphia Municipal Court, Philadelphia, PA, Case #SC-09-09-25-6001 (Jan. 8, 2010) Insured sued insurer for breach of contract and bad faith for denying her vehicle damage claim, accusing her of committing insurance fraud, and reporting her to the state Attorney General. Court found in favor of insured that State Farm had wrongly denied her claim and awarded $5,137.93 for property loss, $2,500 in additional damages, and $59.50 in court costs. (Includes Judge Gilbert’s ruling from the bench.)

SOUTH CAROLINA

Southern Glass & Plastic Co., Inc. v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co., et al, Richland Cty, SC, Magistrate’s Court, Case # 2009-CV-40-1101259 (Sept. 2009)

Glass repair company’s use of an Assignment of Proceeds/Claim to recover against an insurer for underpayment of necessary costs to properly and safely repair/replace vehicle’s glass. Glass repairer permitted to recover reasonable cost of repair rather than insurer-determined lesser amount.
Day One Transcript: September 16, 2009
Day Two Transcript: September 17, 2009 (includes Judge Womble’s decision, ruling from the bench)

WASHINGTON

Haury’s Auto Body v. William Blackwood, King County, WA, Superior Court, Case # 11-2-11413-9 SEA(Nov. 21, 2013) Independent collision repair facility’s right to recover $2,042.15 diminished value, $905.50 for repairs, and prevailing costs and attorney fees totaling $731.48.

Stroud’s Auto Rebuild, Inc. v. Safeco Insurance Co., Pierce Cty., WA, Superior Court, Case # 09-2-07665-6 (Dec. 6, 2010) Independent collision repair facility’s right to recover lost profit against insurer who persuaded insured to patronize insurer “preferred repair facility” on claim of tortious interference with contract/business expectancy. Stroud’s Auto Rebuild, Inc. Arbitration Brief (Nov. 16, 2010) Safeco Insurance Co. Arbitration Brief (Nov. 17, 2010)

Decker v. Safeco Insurance Co., Appraisal Clause Arbitration, Seattle, WA, Reference # 1160017034 (Dec. 11, 2007)

Insured invoked appraisal clause under insurance policy to address insurer’s refusal to pay entire cost of repairs by BMW-approved collision repair facility amounting to $12,352.15. Insurer argued $46/body labor was “prevailing competitive price” in Seattle, WA marketplace and submitted its Prevailing Rate Survey” for “Independent Repair Facilities” in support. Decker submitted a detailed analysis demonstrating that Safeco’s survey did not comply with proper statistical and survey methods, contained inaccurate information, and identied results of separate 2007 Benchmarking Survey of posted rates for independent repair facilities to be $53.18/body labor. Umpire rejected insurer’s rate survey stating it was flawed, found repairer’s bill proper, and awarded damages to insured including payment of attorney fees.