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Petition Filed to Consolidate Multiple Suits Against Insurers

Order Reprints

May 27, 2014—The Eaves Law Firm recently filed a request to consolidate five related lawsuits by body shops in different states to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

In January 2014, a complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of Mississippi, Nothern Division-Jackson, seeking to prevent State Farm from mandating its PartsTrader parts procurement system, as well as to recover short pays and procedures not paid for by insurers.

Since then, nearly 70 body shops in Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Utah have filed similar suits.

Insurers named in the filing include State Farm, Progressive, Allstate, Nationwide, Geico, United Services Automobile Association, USAA, Safeco, Shelter Mutual Insurance Co., Direct General Insurance Company of Mississippi, Mississippi Farm Bureau and Shelter General.

“Since January, 2014, five essentially identical causes of action (collectively, the “Actions”) have been filed on behalf of Plaintiff auto body shops against numerous automobile insurers relating to the insurers’ intentional refusal to fully and fairly compensate Plaintiffs for all work performed in repairing vehicles for which the defendants are responsible for payment, improperly suppressing labor rates, steering, and violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act,” according to the filing.

The plaintiffs have requested the claims be consolidated and handled in Mississippi, which is centrally located. All plaintiffs are also represented by counsel located in Jackson, Miss.

The shops also say consolidation will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent duplicative motions and conflicting pretrial rulings, substantially conserve judicial resources, reduce the costs of litigation and allow the actions to proceed more efficiently to trial.

Motions to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings have been filed in the Florida action so far.

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