The legal battle between VIP Auto Glass and Geico General Insurance Company has come to an end. Judge Mary S. Scriven dismissed the October 2016 case against the insurer, which claimed the company violated Florida law by underpaying auto glass shops not affiliated with Safelite Retail facilities or participants in the Safelite Network. The Court cited forgery as part of its reason for dismissal.
In October 2017, the insurer asked the court to enter default judgment in its favor due to VIP submitting a forged assignment of benefits (AOB) as evidence, making multiple false statements in its pleadings and filings, submitting false discovery responses and falsely testifying under oath, all of which the Court’s order had recognized previously.
Geico claimed VIP forged the signature of Derryl Jones, a customer of VIP, on the AOB. Jones testified in court that the signature was, in fact, not his and was made evident by the misspelling of his first name. The Court also noted the signature on his signed affidavit was incongruent with the one in question.
“It is clear to the Court that Mr. Jones did not sign the assignment of benefits, but instead his signature was forged without his consent,” the document reads. “It is equally clear that VIP Auto Glass, through its corporate representative, has committed perjury in an attempt to legitimize this invalid assignment of benefits for purposes of bringing this action. VIP Auto Glass has acted in bad faith and committed a fraud upon this Court.”
Judge Scriven granted Geico’s motion for default judgment and dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning VIP Auto Glass cannot attempt to reopen the case, nor can it file another lawsuit based on the same claim.
“Based on the established case law and VIP Auto Glass’s egregious misconduct, as well as its failure to comply with the Court’s orders, dismissal with prejudice is justified,” Scriven wrote in the document. “VIP Auto Glass’s conduct is both contumacious and fraudulent. Further, in the absence of a valid assignment of benefits, VIP Auto Glass had no basis to bring suit in this action. Therefore, nothing short of a dismissal with prejudice is sufficient to remedy this wholly fraudulent action.”
Geico was awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.
To read the court document, click here.