Dismissal, transfer developments in 9 states’ repairer v. insurance company litigation – Repairer Driven News

23September 2020

Some significant brand-new advancements have occurred in the variety of collision repairer-insurer suits consolidated before the U.S. Middle District of Florida.

The U.S. District Court system on Aug. 26 returned Mississippi body shops’ tortious interference case to that location without objection from accused Progressive. However, it and multiple other insurance companies the very same day opposed moving comparable claims back to federal courts in New Jersey, Kentucky, Virginia and Missouri.

On Sept. 10, Middle District of Florida Judge Gregory Presnell dismissed with bias Pennsylvania, Alabama and Illinois body shops’ price-fixing and boycott lawsuits against several large insurers.

Five days later, an Oregon repairer revealed he would willingly dismiss a case alleging a GEICO price-fixing and boycott effort including DRP stores.

Lastly, Presnell on Sept. 16 and 17 dismissed two Pennsylvania actions tied to AOBs after complainant Experts Auto Body missed a due date. It’s uncertain, however, if the terminations of the store’s lawsuits– one including several million dollars– are last.

Here’s a roundup of what happened:

Mississippi

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in March reversed Presnell’s dismissal of 2 Mississippi body stores’ (AutoWorks Collision Professional and Walkers CollisionCenter) claims of tortious disturbance against Progressive but promoted the judge’s scrapping the remainder of the case.

The 28 attractive repairer plaintiffs had alleged tortious disturbance, quantum meruit, Mississippi Code violation and antitrust claims versus 11 insurance companies.

Mississippi repairers sought an en banc hearing, however were declined by the Eleventh Circuit on June 9.

Following that choice, Presnell bought repairers and insurers in the enduring appealed lawsuits and other associated cases to state what they ‘d like to take place next. He also asked if the celebrations wanted him to continue hearing the suits.

“With deference to the Court’s discretion, undersigned counsel respectfully encourage the Court that, with the exception of the 2 Mississippi body shop Plaintiffs, all of the celebrations choose that this Court keep jurisdiction and adjudicate all state law claims,” attorneys for the repairers and insurance providers composed in a July 10 terms.

Though Progressive wished to keep the Mississippi allegations in Presnell’s court, Presnell concurred previously this month with the stores’ idea of sending out the case back to the Magnolia State.

“I think the just and effective handling of the remaining state law claims will best be served by remand to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, from which it was initially moved,” he wrote. “Because no federal claims remain, that court might decide that it is prudent to decrease to work out jurisdiction over the state law claims.”

Progressive eventually didn’t object when the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Lawsuits proposed authorizing the transfer. The case originally known as Capitol v. State Farm gone back to the Southern District of Mississippi on Aug. 26.

Kentucky, Virginia, New Jersey and Missouri The Mississippi case was one of a couple of Middle District of Florida collision repair lawsuits to reach the Eleventh Circuit. The Eleventh Circuit likewise ruled 8-1 in 2019’s Quality v. State Farm choice that Presnell correctly dismissed eight body shops in four states’lawsuits declaring insurance provider antitrust violations and unjust enrichment. However, it reversed Presnell’s dismissal of state-level tortious disturbance accusations in Campbell v. State Farm (Kentucky), Lee Pappas v. State Farm (Virginia), Quality v. State Farm and Ultimate v. State Farm( New Jersey)and Concord v. State Farm(Missouri ). Though all the shops and insurers associated with those cases informed Presnell on July 10 they ‘d like to continue in his court, the judge suggested sending the litigation back to the four states ‘particular federal courts. Presnell stated if it were up to him, he ‘d have the state-level judicial systems decide the nonfederal problem.”In its opinion, the circuit court kept in mind that its turnaround of the tortious disturbance claims related only to the district court’s group pleading reasoning, leaving open the question whether the Grievances underwent a 12(b

)(6)termination for failure to specify a practical claim,” Presnell composed Aug. 17.”The circuit court likewise kept in mind that, since the federal antitrust claims have actually been removed, the district court might well decide to exercise its discretion to decrease to exercise pendent jurisdiction over the tortious interference claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Id. at 1276.” These cases are amongst 27 cases that have been actively litigated prior to me over the past six years. The cases are still at the pleading stage and now involve just state law tortious disturbance claims. No discovery has begun and the parties remain in the procedure of instruction the tortious disturbance claims. If delegated my discretion, I would decrease to exercise pendent jurisdiction over these claims. Nevertheless, this is a choice finest left to the particular transferor courts. Accordingly, I recommend that the panel remand these cases.”Insurance providers opposed the concept in filings prior to the Multidistrict Litigation Panel. They argued that sending out the cases back to the Virginia, Kentucky, New Jersey and Missouri federal courts developed inefficiency if those courts held on to the litigation.

“The Changed Tip seems to picture that the transferor courts will decrease to work out pendent jurisdiction in each of these 5 cases,” the insurance companies composed in a Sept. 10 motion to vacate the remand order. “However each transferor court might choose the opposite, and exercise extra subject jurisdiction. If that happens, the cases will
continue separately, in separate courts, without the performance and benefit of the MDL. And if the transferor courts reject the pending 12(b)( 6) movements, discovery and other pretrial procedures will proceed independently. As the Amended Recommendation notes, no discovery has commenced in these 5 cases. Even if the motions to dismiss are granted, appeals would proceed in four circuits, rather of one, as they proceeded (in a combined case) following the very first termination.”

The insurers also mentioned that the shops had indeed accompanied them July 10 to encourage keeping the cases prior to Presnell. That specification also mentioned:

Counsel for all celebrations to the pending actions consisted of in these MDL proceedings have provided once again concerning the Court’s workout of extra jurisdiction over state law declares in all staying cases. All counsel acknowledge that this Court and the 11th Circuit have currently invested substantial judicial resources into the resolution of these claims. The Quality en banc viewpoint offered considerable assistance on the state law declares still prior to this Court. The panel viewpoint in the consolidated Automotive Positioning case is additionally explanatory. All counsel even more agree that a single federal forum supplies overwhelming effectiveness for all parties and is significantly more advantageous than beginning all over again in numerous state courts which will result in piecemeal and potentially conflicting or inconsistent resolutions.

The repairers so far have not filed any sort of objection to the insurance companies’ objection.

Pennsylvania, Alabama, Illinois AASP v. State Farm and AASP v. Erie(Pennsylvania), Kallemeyn v. 21st Century (Illinois )and Just One v. State Farm(Alabama) levied federal antitrust price-fixing and boycott allegations against significant insurance providers. The cases were remained pending the result of other Middle District of Florida cases interested the Eleventh Circuit. None of these pieces of Pennsylvania, Illinois and Alabama litigation included the state-level accusations discovered in associated suits, such as tortious interference. However, they raised other

points made by sibling cases who had interested the 11th Circuit . The Pennsylvania, Alabama and Illinois cases also consisted of one fascinating accusation not discovered in earlier lawsuits.”Really tellingly, in Pennsylvania, a Progressive agent discussed that body stores do not’affect rates,’ the insurance companies get together to identify rates and brand-new rates would probably be figured out by a’huge meeting’ scheduled for April, 2015,”

AASP v. State Farm states. The exact same accusation appears in the other three cases.”This collusion is not restricted to Pennsylvania,”AASP v. State Farm continues.” Specific declarations made by representatives of numerous Accuseds, including State Farm, establish the agreement by and in between the Defendant insurance providers is nationwide in nature, knowing and intentional.”Nevertheless, Presnell observed Sept. 10 that the repairers had actually missed an Aug. 28 due date to respond to insurers’ movements to dismiss. Worse, he also discovered that the Pennsylvania, Illinois and Alabama repairers had missed another important due date and modified their complaint too late back in 2015. Based on an Eleventh Circuit ruling versus shops in Utah and Indiana who missed a due date,”this Court does not have jurisdiction over these untimely submitted Amended Complaints,” Presnell wrote.”Additionally,” he continued,”the First Amended Complaints in these four MDL cases assert just antitrust claims, and even if the Court had jurisdiction, these claims would be precluded by the Eleventh Circuit viewpoint” in Quality v. State Farm.

Oregon The 2017 Oregon case Leif’s v. GEICO at

first look seems similar to the Leif’s v. State Farm lawsuits the shop submitted in 2014 versus GEICO and other insurance providers. However while Leif’s v. State Farm implicated insurance providers of teaming up between themselves to fix rates and boycott the store, Leif’s v. GEICO implicated the carrier of conspiring with ARX direct repair program shops to fix rates and boycott the facility. Presnell closed Leif’s v. State Farm in late 2015 after Leif’s failed to amend its initial claim in action to a termination without bias. But the matter stuck around on with GEICO’s

2015 ask for $52,205.50 in attorney’s charges and a minimum of another$10,000 in a supplement; the insurance provider claimed that Leif’s understood the case wouldn’t make it through a motion

to dismiss. After all the pertinent Eleventh Circuit appeals finished up this year, Presnell denied that movement.”Since a split panel of the 11th Circuit at first concluded in the Quality Auto case that all of Plaintiff’s claims were feasible, and the 11th Circuit en banc opinion promoted at least one of their claims, the Court can not conclude that Plaintiff’s Grievance was submitted in bad faith,” Presnell composed in July.

Leif’s v. GEICO had actually been remained pending Eleventh Circuit procedures. On July 10, both GEICO and Leif’s said they were all set to go and set out a schedule through early September. On Sept. 8, Leif’s asked for and got an extension through Sept. 21.

“The function for this second ask for extension of due date is to supply the celebrations with time to finish active settlement negotiations,” store’s counsel wrote.

But on Sept. 15, Leif’s motioned to dismiss the case.

“Leif’s Auto Crash Centers, LLC (“Leif’s Automobile”) is a family-owned organization located in Portland, Oregon. Present scenarios in Portland, Oregon (COVID-19, riots, unchecked forest fires) have negatively affected Leif’s Car’s organization,” the store composed. “As a result, at present, Leif’s Automobile can not properly pursue its claims against Federal government Worker Insurance Provider (“GEICO”) on the other side of the country.”

Presnell on Thursday bought the case dismissed without prejudice, which indicates Leif’s could attempt once again if circumstances improve. Both Leif’s and GEICO were to pay their own legal expenses.

Pennsylvania II Professionals Auto Body participated the not successful AASP suits discussed above. However the Pennsylvania shop also filed two separate cases of its own connected to project of benefits permissions for first -and third-party consumers it

alleged weren’t completely reimbursed. Professionals v. First Choice looks for nearly $8 million combined from numerous insurance companies, including huge names like State Farm, GEICO and USAA, while Professionals v. Kemperneeds $59,424.97 from Kemper and TVM Structure Products. Both cases allege bad faith, breach of agreement, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment and intentional disturbance.

The cases had actually been in the U.S. Western District of Pennsylvania, however insurance providers effectively petitioned for the two claims to sign up with the slew of multidistrict lawsuits cases prior to Presnell. Both cases were later on remained to await Eleventh Circuit proceedings.

Presnell provided the body shop up until Aug. 21 to submit actions to the insurance industry’s motions to dismiss. An associated case, Professionals v. Progressive, already survived one movement to dismiss in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“Complainant has actually failed to file a reaction, and the movements stand unopposed,” Presnell composed of Professionals v. First Choice on Thursday, using nearly similar language for a Sept. 16 order in Professionals v. Kemper.

He bought both grievances dismissed and directed the clerk to close the file.

However, the order doesn’t state whether the cases were dismissed with or without bias. The former would deny the shop a chance for a redo, while the latter would keep the repairer’s option open.

“I’m waiting to hear what our next step will be,” Professionals Vehicle Body owner Ron Peretta wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

Images:

Repairers in several states sued insurers in a series of cases consolidated prior to the Middle District of Florida. (AlexLMX/iStock)

A Mississippi welcome sign is seen. (pabradyphoto/iStock)

A statue of Lady Justice is revealed. (iZeferli/iStock)

A gavel is shown. (zimmytws/iStock/Thinkstock)

A scale is revealed. (belchonock/iStock/Thinkstock)

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