Allstate Insurance1, one of the nation’s largest writers of auto insurance policies, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Orlando division, against Auto Glass America LLC of Florida (AGA) and Charles Isaly, of Arizona.
The suit, which was filed just before Christmas 2018, alleges AGA and Isaly directed an “extensive and complex scheme … to pressure Allstate’s insureds into hiring AGA for windshield replacements, obtaining assignments of benefits (AOBs) from insureds, submitting invoices to Allstate for excessive and unreasonable amounts and fil[ing] over 1,400 lawsuits for recovery of excessive and unreasonable amounts.” The 48-page complaint details ten separate counts against the defendants.
Allstate also alleges AGA got insureds to authorize the replacements through high pressure sales tactics, omissions and misrepresentations that were in violation of Florida law. The complaint states, “The owner and sole member of AGA is the scheme’s mastermind, Isaly.”
The defendants have since responded.
“Notwithstanding the Complaint’s length and verbosity, it is little more than a cornucopia of hyperbole and legal conclusions that float freely on a sea of bombast,” says a response by the defendants on February 4, 2019. The response goes on to say “Nowhere … is there any reference to a single customer or single transaction or a single claim made on a single
Allstate policy for a single windshield replacement.”
The response also argues that Allstate lacks standing in its case, because allegations center on violations of consumer protection statutes, while Allstate is not a consumer, it suggests, nor are AGA’s customers.
In the response, AGA argues “… There is no authority for the proposition that the consumer-consumer status of an insured extends to the insurer.”
In its original complaint, Allstate argued AGA filed more than 1,400 lawsuits against it and that the replacements were performed without notice to Allstate after insureds hired AGA. Allstate contends that AGA billed it, on average, $900 per invoice for the period of January 1, 2015, through September 30, 2018. Meanwhile, the company reports that the average invoice amount for all other glass vendors in Florida during the same time frame was $350.
AGA’s response says that of 1,185 cases identified so far, approximately 600 have been settled on terms favorable to AGA, while the rest remain pending. All were filed before Allstate’s action.
A discovery deadline of March 2 has been set for the case with expert reports due December 16 of this year.
1 The suit was filed by Allstate Insurance Company and three other related Allstate companies.