Court Approves Extension in Dispute Over Connecticut Anti-Steering Bill

The court has provided a deadline of September 30 for Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Connecticut Commissioner of the Insurance Department Thomas Leonardi to respond to Safelite’s motion for a preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of a new law designed to prevent steering.

Safelite requested an injunction earlier this month claiming the law will “unconstitutionally” force the company to recommend auto glass repair and replacement work to its competitors. Safelite also petitioned for a permanent injunction against enforcement. The original deadline for response to the motion was August 16.

“The undersigned counsel has inquired of plaintiffs’ counsel and represents that they have agreed to the requested extension for the filing of the response,” the defendants’ attorneys write in court documents. “This is the first motion for extension of time that has been filed by the defendants. The previous time limitation could not have been reasonably met despite the diligence of the defendants.”

The defendants’ attorneys have also proposed a deadline schedule, which they say has been agreed upon by all parties. The proposed deadlines are:

Amended pleadings: September 14, 2013

Answer: September 20, 2013

Response to Motion for Preliminary Injunction: September 30, 2013

Reply: October 18, 2013

Safelite asked the U.S. District Court of Connecticut earlier this month to “enjoin and declare invalid the portions of a recently enacted Connecticut statute unconstitutionally prohibiting Safelite from engaging in truthful commercial speech and compelling Safelite to make potentially false and misleading statements about other glass shops.”

The company claims the statute, House Bill 5072, “an Act Concerning Automotive Glass Work” [Public Act 13-67] is an infringement of Safelite’s first amendment rights because it “requires Safelite to promote other glass repair shops as a part of any statements it may make about itself,” according to court documents.

Safelite argues, “Those provisions advance no legitimate-let alone substantial state interest, as any state law that seeks to regulate speech must. Rather the legislative history of PA 13-67 makes clear that the real purpose of these provisions and their effect is constitutionally impermissible economic protection of local Connecticut glass repair shops from the interstate competition of Safelite.”

In response to Safelite’s request for an injunction, state lobbyist Jim Amann, who worked on the bill on behalf of auto glass retailers, says, “Let the courts fight it out. We are very comfortable the act will pass constitutional muster.”

Jaclyn Falkowski, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Attorney General, says, “We are reviewing the complaint and will respond at the appropriate time in court. As the matter is pending, we would decline further comment at this time.”

PA 13-67, which the governor approved in early June, “requires initial communications between a glass claims representative or a third-party claims administrator of an insurance company doing business in Connecticut and the company’s insured about automotive glass works or products to inform the insured about his or her right to choose where to have the work done.”

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2 Responses to Court Approves Extension in Dispute Over Connecticut Anti-Steering Bill

  1. This to me is the best legislative bill passed into law protecting the rights of independent glass shops from the from unethical and what many feel illegal tactics used by Safelite to steer our customers to their shops proving they truly are a first party administrator trying to portray themselves as a third party administrator. Good Luck Connecticut Independents!

  2. David Zoldowski says:

    What am I missing?

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