Safelite Group, Safelite Solutions and Safelite Fulfillment (Safelite) have filed a reply to Rich Campfield’s opposition to their motion to dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern division. Campfield, founder of Ultra Bond in Grand Junction, Colo., filed a complaint against Safelite in mid-August 2015, alleging that the company engages in misleading advertising that favors replacement of windshields rather than repairs of long cracks, which he alleges has “wiped out a large portion (if not most) of the market for Ultra Bond’s products and services.”
Safelite asked the judge to dismiss the case in October 2015.
“This is a false advertising action under the Lanham Act, though one may not realize it from the complaint,” Safelite’s attorneys allege. “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. But plaintiffs already brought antitrust claims (over a decade ago) on essentially the same allegations against different parties. These claims were rejected both by a Federal District Court and again by a Court of Appeals. (Campfield vs. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co.) Plaintiffs’ present attempt to resurrect their claims against Safelite under the guise of the Lanham Act should be rejected as well.”
In a response to the allegations that Safelite has stated [in scripts] that long-crack repairs are unsafe, and that the company’s glass shops use replacement windshields that are equivalent to original windshields, Safelite’s attorneys contend this argument does not fall under the Lanham Act.
Campfield filed a response to the motion to dismiss in December 2015, saying, “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.”
In support of the motion to dismiss, Safelite’s attorneys write, “Plaintiffs opposition to Safelite’s motion to dismiss reveals the true purpose of this lawsuit—to manipulate the vehicle glass repair and replacement market in plaintiffs’ favor via the court.
“[I]n short, having developed products that have repeatedly failed in the marketplace over the last quarter century, plaintiffs ask the court to place a heavy thumb on the scale of the VGRR industry to create a market for them, and to use Safelite and non-party insurance companies to do it,” Safelite’s attorneys write.
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.
Safelite filed the motion in support of dismissal in late January.
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 the latest filing from Safelite, click here.