Safelite Group Inc. and Safelite Solutions LLC have moved for leave to file a first-amended complaint over Connecticut’s anti-steering law in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut. The changes in the amended complaint include switching much of the phrasing to past tense since the law, Public Act 13-67 (a Connecticut Act Concerning Automotive Glass Work), has gone into effect. However, Safelite is also now seeking reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.
“Safelite proposes to amend its complaint to assert a claim against defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and, relatedly, for attorneys’ fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, based on the facts already pled in the original complaint. Plaintiffs’ counsel conferred with counsel for the defendants, who advised plaintiffs’ counsel that they do not consent to the relief sought herein,” Safelite’s attorneys write in their amended complaint.
In a new portion of the amended complaint, Safelite’s attorneys write, “An actual controversy exists because Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-354(b)(2) and PA 13-67 create a genuine, credible and immediate threat that defendants acting in their official capacities will enforce Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-354(b)(2) and PA 13-67 in violation of Safelite’s constitutionally protected rights. In doing so, defendants are acting under color of state law. Safelite seeks a declaration that enforcement or threatened enforcement of Conn. 67(b)(2) and (c)(2) by defendants violates 42 U.S.C.”
In a revised section of the amended complaint, Safelite’s attorneys have switched the language to past tense.
They claim, “Safelite has also spent significant resources revising the scripts to add the additional information required by PA 13-67. The resources required in this undertaking are vast. Safelite has (1) determined how best to comply with the speech restrictions and requirements in PA 13-67; (2) drafted a modified script to be used with Connecticut consumers; (3) obtained the approval of Safelite’s insurance customers for the changes to the script; (4) re-programed the computer program that presents the script to Safelite customer service representatives, which includes defining, coding, testing and deploying the changes; and (5) re-trained its customer service representatives on the changes to the script for Connecticut policyholders.”
“[S]afelite prays for a declaratory judgment, pursuant to the Declaratory 1 Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §2201, that PA 13-67(b)(2) and (c)(2) and Conn. Genn. Stat. § 38a- 354(b)(2) violate the United States Constitution, including but not limited to the First and Fourteenth Amendments and the Dormant Commerce Clause, Article I, ¶ 8, and are therefore void and unenforceable; for a permanent injunction prohibiting the State from enforcing those provisions; for reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988; and for any other relief that the court deems just and proper,” Safelite attorneys write.
Attorneys representing the Connecticut Attorney General and State Insurance Commissioner have not responded to the amended complaint at press time.
The court has not issued any new decisions.
Safelite’s attorneys take particular issue with a small portion of the act—PA-13-67(c)(2).
“It prohibits an insurance claims administrator (TPA) from informing policyholders about an affiliated glass repair business unless the administrator simultaneously refers policyholders to a local competitor’s glass repair business,” Safelite attorneys explain.
Safelite had sued Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and State Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi and asked for an injunction to halt enforcement of Public Act 13-67 (an Act Concerning Automotive Glass Work). 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 and a decision has not yet been handed down.
To read a copy of Safelite’s amended complaint, click here.
What “attorney costs?” They are using lawyers actually employed by Safelite. To the best of my knowledge, no lawyers have been retained for any full-time work as independent contractors, the employed guys are doing all of the grunt and detail work.