Shops Refile Florida Lawsuit Against Insurers
June 30, 2014—Attorneys representing more than 20 Florida collision repairers refiled an amended lawsuit against 39 insurance companies June 27, after a U.S. district judge dismissed the suit without prejudice last week.
The suit alleges that State Farm is at the center of an effort by many insurers to suppress labor rates and force shops to accept a lower payment for materials. It also alleges that insurance agencies participated in steering.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell requested more information about the collision repair shops’ complaints by June 27. Specifically, Presnell asked for clarification regarding which shops and insurers had direct repair program agreements. He also asked for the complaints to be reported specific to the affected shop, rather than as a broad overview.
“We’re excited to have this interruption behind us,” said Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center, one of the plaintiff repairers represented in the lawsuit. “In reading the complaint, everyone in this industry knows it to be the truth. ... I am looking forward to bringing the issues to a jury and exposing the insurer’s egregious practices and ending the suppression that has been so harmful to our industry and to the consumers we serve. All repairers want is to serve our customers in an unencumbered manner and to see our employees earn a fair wage for their efforts.”