Safelite Group and Safelite Solutions have voluntarily dismissed the complaint against Lori Swanson, in her official capacity as Attorney General of Minnesota, without prejudice in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. The complaint remains against the second defendant—the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Safelite filed the complaint to enjoin and declare invalid enforcement of a Minnesota statute which excludes “Safelite from doing business in Minnesota without the opportunity for a hearing.”
Michael Rothman, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, was not mentioned in the notice of voluntary dismissal filed by Safelite.
“Safelite Group and Safelite Solutions LLC and their counsel hereby give notice that the claims against defendant Lori Swanson, in her official capacity as attorney general for the state of Minnesota, in the above-captioned action are hereby voluntarily dismissed without prejudice,” according to court documents.
“The complaint remains against Michael Rothman in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce,” says Melina Metzger, Safelite’s public relations manager.
The legal debate was sparked after a settlement agreement between the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Insurance Division, and Auto Club Group, was made public. It provides for the Auto Club Group to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 and “cease and desist from using Safelite Solutions, or any other subsidiary of Safelite Group Inc. as its administrator of automobile glass claims in Minnesota,” according to the settlement agreement.
Safelite first argued its case on the state level before attempting to take it to U.S. District Court.
After the order was signed, Safelite Group and Safelite Solutions, as related parties to the consent order, filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Appellate Court of Minnesota. The Appellate Court dismissed the case saying “certiorari review is not available.”
Safelite then asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the Appellate Court’s decision. The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Insurance division, has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to deny Safelite’s petition for review. The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision is still pending.
Attempting to take its case to U.S. District Court, Safelite has asked the U.S. District Court of Minnesota to issue a preliminary injunction to temporarily halt enforcement of a Minnesota statute it contends prohibits “insurers and insurance claims processors from engaging in truthful commercial speech.” Safelite has also asked the court for a declaratory judgment that the Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce’s enforcement actions violate the United State Constitution and for a permanent injunction prohibiting state officials from enforcing the statute to restrict Safelite’s ability to conduct business in the state without “affording Safelite notice and an opportunity to be heard.” The company asked for the Commissioner of Commerce to dissolve, or agree never to enforce, the settlement agreement with Auto Club Group.
“Safelite has been afforded no opportunity to become a party to any proceedings involving the consent orders,” Safelite’s attorneys write in their complaint to the U.S. District Court. “Safelite petitioned the Minnesota Court of Appeals for a writ of certiorari to review the consent order, but the court determined the order was unreviewable because it does not qualify as a ‘quasi-judicial decision’ and because Safelite was not a party to the order. A petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court is pending, but Safelite remains a non-party with no right to review.”
Attorneys representing the Commissioner of the Minnesota Commerce Department have not yet filed a response in the U.S. District Court at press time.
To view Safelite’s notice of voluntary dismissal, click here.