The U.S. Federal District Court for Minnesota has issued a scheduling order in the Safelite-Minnesota case saying all parties must be ready for a bench trial by August 29, 2016. Safelite Group and Safelite Solutions filed the lawsuit in U.S. Federal District Court in April 2015 to enjoin and declare invalid enforcement of a Minnesota statute which excludes the company “from doing business in Minnesota without the opportunity for a hearing.”
In the lawsuit, Safelite referred to a settlement agreement between the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Insurance Division, and Auto Club Group that provides for the Auto Club Group to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and “cease and desist from using Safelite Solutions, or any other subsidiary of Safelite Group Inc. as its administrator of automobile glass claims in Minnesota,” according to the consent order.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Insurance Division, reviewed 125 automotive glass and accident claim files, which led to its decision, according to the settlement agreement.
“Safelite has been afforded no opportunity to become a party to any proceedings involving the consent orders,” Safelite’s attorneys wrote in their complaint to the U.S. District Court. The attorneys asked the Minnesota state court system to review the consent order; however, their request was denied. Safelite then took its case to the U.S. District Court.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Commerce Commissioner’s attorneys say Safelite’s motion “fails to address a host of issues, both with their non-speech related conduct and with the deceptive and misleading nature of the commercial speech they claim is protected,” according to court documents.
“Plaintiffs fail to address Safelite Solutions’ unlicensed and improper adjusting of insurance claims. State law requires that parties who negotiate on behalf of an insurer to settle an insurance claim must register with the department as insurance adjusters, obtain training and education, and follow required standards on the adjustment of claims. Safelite Solutions has repeatedly violated these laws while working for the Auto Club Group (AAA) and other insurers, both by adjusting claims without a license and by adjusting claims in a manner that falls short of the required standards,” attorneys representing the Commerce Commissioner allege in court documents.
The court’s scheduling order states:
- No more than 20 factual depositions shall be taken per side.
- No more than 25 interrogatories shall be served by one party on another party.
- No more than one expert deposition per identified expert shall be taken per side.
- The parties agree that three expert witnesses will appear at trial per side.
To view the entire scheduling order, click here.
To view Safelite’s petition for a preliminary injunction, click here.
To view the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s response in U.S. District Court, click here.
To view a copy of the consent order, click here.