“We will be doing an investigate report tonight focusing on the ‘anti-steering’ law in Connecticut,” says George Colli, an investigative reporter at NBC Connecticut WVIT-TV. The report will air at about 10 minutes into the 11 p.m. broadcast.
“We spoke to a customer who says he was steered away from an independent automotive glass shop,” says Colli. “We will focus on him and his issues. We talk with the glass shop and will cover the law. We are also looking for a reaction from Safelite.”
Safelite claims the law—Public Act 13-67 (an Act Concerning Automotive Glass Work), which went into effect January 1—is unconstitutional because it restricts the company’s right to free speech. It has sued state Attorney General George Jepsen and Thomas Leonardi, insurance commissioner to halt enforcement. After the District Court judge decided against an immediate injunction to halt enforcement, Safelite appealed this decision to the Appellate Court. A hearing was held at the Appellate level in late May and a decision has not yet been handed down.
“When PA 13-67(c)(2) is subject to the appropriate test—that announced in Central Hudson—it becomes clear that Safelite’s First Amendment challenge is likely to succeed and that a preliminary injunction should issue,” Safelite’s attorneys have argued.
Further, according to Safelite’s attorneys, “The district court erred in denying the motion for preliminary injunction. Safelite respectfully submits that the order should be reversed and the matter remanded with instructions to enter a preliminary injunction preventing Defendants-Appellees from enforcing PA 13-67(c)(2) pending resolution of this action.”
On the other side of the courtroom, Connecticut’s attorney claims, “Safelite Solutions has been extraordinarily effective at steering consumers to Safelite AutoGlass.”
“[C]onnecticut has a statutory policy of protecting consumer choice in automotive insurance repair work. The Connecticut legislature enacted Public Act 13-67(c) (2) because it determined that existing statutes did not adequately prevent insurance claims administrators from undermining consumer choice by steering consumers to affiliated auto glass repair shops.”
Meanwhile, the legal dispute remains on the docket of the District Court.
The NBC 30 Connecticut report should be up on www.nbcconnecticut.com at about midnight for those not in the viewing area, Colli said.
glassBYTEs.com™ editors contacted Safelite. The company declined to comment.