The legal battle between Allstate, Auto Glass America LLC of Florida (AGA) and its owner, Charles Isaly continues, as the insurance company has filed a response to the motion to dismiss that was filed by the auto glass company and its owner. Allstate filed the papers February 26, 2019 in response to a motion to dismiss by AGA and Isaly.
Allstate response says its original complaint details AGA’s “deceptive tactics” and business practices while it solicited from insureds. The insurance company further claims AGA’s request to dismiss the case would “ignore Allstate’s factual allegations.”
“… in their motion to dismiss [they] are asking this court to ignore [Allstate’s] allegations as well. Defendants’ characterization of the complaint as “a cornucopia of hyperbole and legal conclusions that float freely on a sea of bombast” is not only overly dramatic, but flat wrong,” a portion of the filed response reads.
The lawsuit, filed days before Christmas 2018 detailed ten counts against AGA and its owner Charles Isaly. The counts were defined as follows:
- One count for tortious interference on the grounds that AGA intentionally and unjustifiably interfered with Allstate’s contractual relationships with its insureds;
- Five counts for a violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) on the grounds that AGA and Isaly’s practices and conduct were unfair;
- Three counts for unjust enrichment on the grounds of Florida’s Home Solicitation Sales Act (Sales Act); and
- One count for declaratory judgement.
AGA and Isaly believe that Allstate’s allegations regarding FDUTPA do not apply.
“Defendants contend that Plaintiffs do not have standing to pursue claims for damages under FDUTPA because Plaintiffs are not consumers involved in consumer transactions with AGA. But Florida’s federal courts, without questioning standing, have repeatedly allowed insurers to pursue claims under FDUTPA for recovery of amounts paid under insurance policies,” a portion of the response reads.
Allstate’s response, makes mention of how the insurance company classifies itself, and defines itself as a “consumer” of auto glass services.
“… Claims for damages under FDUTPA are no longer limited to consumers. Moreover, as they are the ones who pay AGA for windshield replacements, Plaintiffs are, in fact, consumers (and have alleged that they are consumers in the complaint),” a portion of the Allstate response reads.
Allstate then claims insurers can in fact pursue claims for damages under FDUTPA. The response cites several previous Florida federal court cases that have allowed insurers to pursue claims and damages under FDUTPA without it being questioned.
Allstate further explained that it paid for its windshield replacements, which to the company means “the plaintiffs are engaged in the purchase of goods and services from AGA and are, as a result consumers.”
“[The] defendants’ arguments that Plaintiffs are not consumers under FDUTPA are not only meritless, but they ignore that Plaintiffs also seek declaratory and injunctive relief – this alone precludes a wholesale dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims,” a portion of the Allstate response reads.
The defendants also argued for abstention under two abstention doctrines, according to the response, which Allstate claims “there is no basis for it found in it.”
Allstate’s “factual allegations” regarding the defendants’ conduct and practices is further explained. Although the defendants’ claimed they are not required by the Repair Act to provide estimates to Allstate’s insureds because estimates are required only when the cost is more than $100, the insurance company finds issue with the possibility of it being over charged. This comes into question because Allstate is claiming AGA “chooses to accept assignments of benefits from the insureds in lieu of payment,” which would authorize the company to bill Allstate directly.
“Plaintiffs seek to recover the additional amount it has paid for windshield replacements in which repairs should have been made. This includes amounts that were overpaid to AGA, as well as additional amounts that Allstate paid to others for recalibrating the computer systems of vehicles which AGA had improperly replaced the windshields rather than doing repairs,” a portion of the response reads.
A deadline for expert reports has been set for December 16 of this year, look to future editions for more updates on this case.