In the latest move in the national case consolidated in the U.S. District Court in Florida, attorneys representing several Arizona collision repair shops allege in an amended complaint that State Farm and dozens of other insurers force the companies to use aftermarket or salvaged parts when repairing vehicles. “Aftermarket windshield glass poses a serious safety risk to vehicle occupants,” the attorneys allege.
“For example, the vehicle’s windshield functions to stop the vehicle’s roof from collapsing during a rollover crash but, since it is not subject to the same crash testing requirements and does not have the same design specifications as OEM windshield glass, aftermarket windshield glass has a higher tendency of shattering or simply popping-out altogether,” the attorneys allege in court documents.
Collision repair shops from 12 Federal District Courts have alleged “steering and price fixing” by dozens of insurers. The lawsuits were consolidated in the U.S. District Court of Florida, Orlando division, by the Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation. The latest amended complaint represents part of the “tag-along cases,” or cases from additional states that have also been sent to the Florida court.
“Defendant insurers have engaged in a widespread, concerted and combined course of illegal conduct to depress automobile repair costs and control the automobile repair industry by, among other things: 1) price fixing labor rates; 2) price fixing replacement parts; 3) compelling use of substandard or dangerous replacement parts; 4) compelling use of parts procurement programs or parts sources; 5) boycotting plaintiffs’ businesses; and/or 6) steering customers away from plaintiffs and similarly situated body shops for refusing to comply with fixed prices, refusing to use substandard or improper parts, or nonperformance of critical processes and procedures,” the attorneys allege.
The collision repair companies are seeking jury trial. The judge has not yet issued any new decisions on the case.
To read the latest amended complaint, click here.