Running a Shop Law

Ray Gunder Files Florida Injunction Against State Farm

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Editor's Note: This story previously used a headline stating the injunction was filed against PartsTrader, rather than State Farm Insurance. The injunction is designed to prevent State Farm's required use of the PartsTrader parts procurement system in its Select Service shops in Florida. It has no bearing on PartsTrader as a company. 

Nov. 22, 2013—Ray Gunder, owner of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, Fla., has filed an injunction against State Farm Insurnace at the Polk County Courthouse in Bartow, Fla. The goal is to stop the implementation of State Farm’s PartsTrader parts procurement initiative in the state, Gunder announced this week during a meeting with several shop owners and suppliers from Florida and Mississippi.

“This is just another attempt by State Farm to intrude into our business and further cut into our profits,” Gunder said. “By taking profits away, it’s forcing good men to do bad things, which ultimately affects the consumer with poor, unsafe and shoddy repairs, putting their families in harm’s way.”

Gunder filed the injunction with assistance from plaintiff attorney John Eaves Jr. and Florida attorney Brent Geohagan.

Eaves, who has spoken to more than 200 shops throughout 23 states urging repairers to combat the issue, said the purpose of the injunction is to prevent destruction of the “long-term relationships between repairers and their suppliers.”

“We’re in Florida with the purpose of filing an injunction to stop PartsTrader. Our ultimate goal is to defeat this mandated parts procurement program and State Farm’s intrusion into the collision repair industry in Florida and across our great country,” Eaves said. “This issue isn’t just about you as individual repairers, this issue is about your responsibility to the consumers around the nation who are relying upon you, the repair professionals, to look out for and to safeguard their best interests regarding their personal safety and economic well-being.”

Kathy Mills, executive director of the Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA), announced during the meeting that the organization fully supports all efforts to stop PartsTrader throughout the collision repair industry.

Florida is now the second state to file such an injunction. A similar lawsuit was filed in Hinds County Chancery Court in Mississippi by the Mississippi Collision Repair Association in August, which includes more than two dozen body shops who are seeking to block State Farm’s mandated use of PartsTrader.

That lawsuit alleges that consumers are at risk if State Farm is able to require body shops in its Select Service network to use PartsTrader for the purpose of finding the least expensive parts available to do repairs. The lawsuit also alleges that the use of PartsTrader could extend the time needed for repairs due to greater shipping distances, and cause friction in a body shop’s relationships with its customers.

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