VIP Auto Glass Inc. (VIP) and Class members are seeking class certification in a Florida lawsuit against Geico General Insurance Company for allegedly violating the state’s law by underpaying auto glass shops not affiliated with Safelite Retail facilities or participants in the Safelite Network.
The lawsuit, originally filed by VIP, accuses Geico of using ambiguous price comparisons to determine a “prevailing competitive price” for its reimbursements to automotive glass companies, in order to pay as a little as possible.
To ascertain class certification, the plaintiffs have to meet four requirements: numerosity, commonality, typicality and adequacy. In the court document, VIP and Class members assert that they have met all requirements and ask the court to grant them class certification.
Numerosity refers to the number of class members in a class action lawsuit, with numerical limitations set on a case-by-case basis.
“Numerosity requires only that joinder be ‘impracticable.’ The Court has discretion to make assumptions regarding numerosity, and it ‘is not necessary that the precise number of class members be known,’” the document states. “Here, based on GEICO’s allegations and testimony, numerosity is met and Rule 23(a) is satisfied.”
Plaintiffs meet commonality if class members have at least one question of law or fact in common.
“ … common proof will apply to VIP and the Class members to establish GEICO’s liability. These common issues ‘are central to the case and their centrality and commonality support the policy objectives behind class certification.’
“That is, if the Court determines that GEICO violated Florida law, VIP and the Class members will be entitled to, among other things, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages. Because the Class have these factual and legal issues in common, VIP has demonstrated commonality,” the court document states.
To meet typicality, all class members have to have something in common with the named plaintiff. In this case, all class members and VIP are windshield repair and replacement facilities, and none are participants in the Safelite Network of glass shops and were all underpaid, according to the document.
“Accordingly, because VIP and each Class member suffered the same injury in the same way, there is a ‘sufficient nexus’ between their claims, and the facts and law concerning the claims of VIP and the Class members are sufficiently similar to satisfy the typicality requirement …” the plaintiffs claim.
The class representative has to fairly and adequately protect the interests of class members not represented by way of common interests.
“VIP has filed a declaration in which its representative asserts that it is authorized and willing to serve as the class representative, he understands his duties and obligations, and is willing to fulfill them … Accordingly, VIP has met the adequacy requirement …,” the document states.
VIP asks the court to certify the class, allow VIP to be the class’s designated representative and allow VIP’s counsel be designated as Class counsel.