Judge Rules Against Release of Documents

The judge in the case of Allstate* vs Auto Glass America and its owner, Charles Isaly (AGA), has ruled that certain documents provided in the case will remain confidential and not be made public.

AGA had asked U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida in Orlando to remove the designations of “confidential” or “highly confidential” from certain documents including:

• Contracts between Safelite Solutions and Allstate and other contracts between Safelite Solutions and Auto Glass Inspection Services (AGIS);
• Telephone transcripts of information given and obtained by Safelite Solutions during phone calls with AGA and its customers;
• Claims data;
• Pricing agreements between Allstate and out-of-network shops; and
• The reports of Allstate’s experts, among others.

AGA contended that all Allstate’s expert data relies heavily on detailed claims data spreadsheets and do not contain trade secrets. AGA cited public court documents provided by Allstate that identified 2,784 glass companies and the instances in which they were paid more than 100% of NAGS and/or more than $85 per labor hour for windshield replacements.

Allstate filed the lawsuit in December 2018 alleging that AGA had engaged in a plan to unlawfully obtain payment for excessive and/or unreasonable charges by submitting inflated invoices which the insurer paid at a reduced rate (known as short-rating). Allstate alleged AGA would then sue them when it paid less than the invoice amount. AGA has since filed a counterclaim against Allstate.

The defendants contended that, if Allstate had its way, “the case would be conducted in secret even though it was Allstate who commenced this action against AGA and Isaly, based on the information that it does not want to be made public. Allstate’s ‘Kafkaesque’ approach should be rejected in its entirety,” reads AGA’s response to Allstate’s motion to keep the documents under seal.

Judge Leslie Hoffman denied both of AGA’s motions on October 29, citing a number of reasons, including a lack of specificity. Hoffman said AGA did not provide the court with the documents at issue so that no determination of the appropriateness of the issue could be made. She also found the motion untimely and that no persuasive argument was provided for removing the “Confidential” designation as Mr. Islay was permitted to review the documents under a confidentiality agreement in place between Allstate and AGA.

*Note: Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company and Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company (collectively Allstate). They, as well as Auto Glass America and Charles Isaly (known as AGA) are all represented by outside counsel.

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