Harner Responds to TPAs, Insurers Request to Dismiss Suit
March 1, 2012

by Katie O'Mara, komara@glass.com

The owner of a New York auto glass shop is responding to insurers and third-party administrators who are requesting the court order that the suit against them be dropped. David Harner, the owner of Auto Glass of Westchester Windshield Doctor in Westchester, N.Y., filed a suit alleging failure to pay assigned claims, delay in payment, fraud, deceptive acts, restraint of trade, unfair business practices and tortious interference.

In court documents from Harner, he claims that, “The defendants have not denied the plaintiff’s allegations and have failed to make an evidentiary showing that refutes the pleased causes of action."

The TPAs claimed that Harner’s complaint was focused around there being too much competition which would erode his profits.

“The plaintiff’s claim is not that insured customers do not use his shop, the claim is that the insurer-defendants and non-insurer-defendants fail to follow the law when handling the plaintiff’s insurance claims,” read Harner’s response in the court documents. “The TPA’s employees are not licensed as independent adjusters in the state of New York and therefore, are unable to legally negotiate pricing or charges with repair shops in the state of New York.”

The TPAs further claim that Harner’s complaint “makes conclusory references to harm to competition without a single factual allegation explaining how market-wide competition is affected.”

“The plaintiff has included dozens of factual allegations to support his causes of action in the amended complaint, which would suffice to ‘raise a right to relief above the speculative level.’ To cite all of these factual allegations would be a burden on the plaintiff and any person can read those factual allegations in the amended complaint,” responds Harner in court documents.

Harner named a number of companies in the original filing, including Allstate, GEICO, Hanover, Travelers and others, along with their TPAs, Safelite and LYNX Services. In addition, Safelite parent Belron US and LYNX parent company Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) also are named in the suit.

“The defendants in this action have entered into a conspiracy specifically designed to eliminate all auto glass claimants rights and protections under the New York State Unfair Claims Settlement and Fair Claims Settlement...,”reads Harner’s response.

Harner’s complaint, filed originally in May and amended in October, alleges that “all the defendants actions, individually, combined, and in concert, are unreasonable under the circumstances, [and] have denied [him] the right to earn income, his ability to create a sound business reputation, and have denied him his right to continue to operate his business without interference, in a free, unfettered, and profitable manner, within the framework of the law.”

He further has claimed that the TPAs noted “together, through planning and foresight, have created a contract an/or combination and/or conspiracy in the form of trust or otherwise, amongst and between those defendant insurers, by using the defendant PGW and/or the defendant LYNX, or the defendant Belron and/or the defendant Safelite, as intermediaries in an attempt to restrain trade or commerce, and to enforce a mandate to set and/or fix and/or stabilize prices, and/or to restrain trade, and/or whereby a monopoly is or may be established or maintained...”

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
Subscribe to receive the free e-newsletter.