Second Circuit Court Denies Preliminary Injunction in Connecticut Anti-Steering Case, Grants Expedited Appeal

A judges’ panel for the Second Circuit Court has denied Safelite’s motion for an injunction halting enforcement of Public Act 13-67 (an Act Concerning Automotive Glass Work), which went into effect January 1, writing that Safelite “failed to meet the requisite standard.” The judges granted Safelite’s motion to expedite the appeal.

“Appellants, through counsel, move to enjoin enforcement of Connecticut Public Act 13-67(c)(2), pending appeal of the District Court order declining to enjoin the statute; to expedite the appeal; and for permission to file an oversized memorandum of law in support of their motion for an injunction,” write judges Dennis Jacobs, Debra Ann Livingston and Gerard E. Lynch in their decision. “Upon due consideration, it is hereby ordered that the motion to file an oversized memorandum of law is granted.

“It is furthermore ordered that appellants’ motion for an injunction is denied because they have failed to meet the requisite standard,” they continued. “Finally, it is ordered that the motion to expedite the appeal is granted.”

The Circuit Court clerk set a timetable for an expedited briefing:

—The appellants’ opening brief and joint appendix are due March 18, 2014.

—Appellees’ answering brief is due April 22, 2014.

—Appellants’ reply brief must be filed on or before May 6, 2014.

“The appeal shall be heard as early as the week of May 19, 2014, subject to the approval of the presiding judge,” writes Catherine O’Hagan Wolfe, Clerk of Court, in court papers.

A judge for U.S. District Court of Connecticut just approved a timetable for the anti-steering lawsuit as well.

Safelite had claimed the law, is unconstitutional because it restricts the company’s right to free speech and sued state Attorney General George Jepsen and Thomas Leonardi, insurance commissioner, last year to halt Public Act 13-67. Company attorneys had claimed Safelite was the only entity covered by the law. Connecticut’s attorneys, meanwhile, claimed the law is intended “to protect consumer choice.”

glassBYTEs.com™ editors recently reached out to the parties involved in Connecticut’s new anti-steering law to see if its implantation has made any difference to the marketplace. A Safelite spokeswoman declined comment saying that the company’s lawsuit is still pending.

Opinions varied by local glass shop owners on the impact of the new law.

Ed Fisher owner of Auto Glass of Connecticut in Milford said, “Business has picked up, but not as much as I thought it would.” He saw two or three new customers from Safelite Solutions last month.

What is your reaction to this decision, email your thoughts to jreed@glass.com or join the forum discussion here.

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