Rich Campfield, founder of Ultra Bond in Grand Junction, Colo., has filed a response to Safelite’s recent motion to dismiss the case he filed in mid-August against Safelite Group, Safelite Solutions and Safelite Fulfillment. The case alleges that the company engages in misleading advertising that favors replacement of windshields rather than repairs of long cracks, which Campfield alleges has “wiped out a large portion (if not most) of the market for Ultra Bond’s products and services.”
In Safelite’s October motion to dismiss, the company alleged that while Campfield filed the case under the Lanham act, “Plaintiff’s allegations actually have nothing to do with advertising. They concern issues like alleged market power, vertical integration and insurance claims administration networks, all of which one might expect to see in an antitrust case.”
In response, Campfield’s attorneys write, “Safelite does not dispute that its statements are false and misleading. Faced with indisputable facts demonstrating the knowing and literal falsity of their statements, Safelite attempts to distract the court by attacking straw man claims that plaintiffs do not assert, mischaracterizing or ignoring core facts pertinent to the claims asserted here, and even arguing the wrong legal standard for analyzing Lanham Act claims.”
The response continues, “Contrary to defendants’ argument, this case is not an antitrust case nor does it mirror plaintiffs’ previous case decided by the Tenth Circuit in 2008. Among other things, the Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard™ (ROLAGS)—which [is] central to the allegations here—did not exist at the time of that case. The ROLAGS show[s] that defendants’ statements that windshield cracks longer than six inches cannot be repaired and are unsafe are false. Tellingly, defendants do not even mention the ROLAGS in their brief.”
The original complaint also alleges that Safelite has stated in scripts that long crack repairs could be unsafe and that the company’s glass shops use replacement windshields that are equivalent to original windshields. Safelite’s attorneys have contended that this argument does not fall under the Lanham Act.
Campfield’s attorneys disagree. They write, “Regarding the Lanham Act ‘zone of interest’ prong, contrary to defendants’ arguments, plaintiffs are not acting as a ‘vicarious avenger of the public ’ injured by Safelite’s indisputably false statements. Instead, plaintiffs allege damage to their commercial interests and reputation.”
The response continues, “Safelite also violates the Lanham Act by misrepresenting the nature of its goods by implying that Safelite’s windshield replacements are as safe and reliable as factory-installed windshields that have been repaired. Safelite, however, admits internally that ‘nothing can duplicate the factory seal of the original windshield.’ These are classic Lanham Act violations.”
Campfield’s response to Safelite’s motion to dismiss was filed on December 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
The complaint Campfield brought against State Farm and LYNX Services, referenced by both Campfield and Safelite, was filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado in February 2003. The District Court judge dismissed the case in December 2005. The Appellate Court denied Campfield’s request for a rehearing in August 2008.
At press time, the court had not yet ordered on the motion to dismiss. As of now, discovery in the case is due by September 30, 2016, and dispositive motions are due by March 15, 2017.
To read Campfield’s response, click here.