U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie R. Hoffman issued an order today that both grants and denies parts of an emergency motion filed in the ongoing battle between the plaintiff, Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate) and defendants, Auto Glass America LLC (AGA) and its owner, Charles Isaly. Hoffman issued the order today which finds two exceptions in Allstate’s arguments.
The legal battle has continued for more than a year, stemming from allegations that both AGA and Isaly allegedly pressured Allstate’s insureds into hiring them for windshield replacements, while obtaining assignments of benefits (AOBs). On February 6, 2020, Allstate filed an “emergency motion” for a protective order for one of its corporate representatives.
“Allstate does not seek to cancel the corporate representative deposition; rather, Allstate asks the court to limit the topics that AGA can inquire about at the deposition. With two exceptions, the court does not find Allstate’s arguments to be well-taken,” a portion of Hoffman’s order reads.
According to the court, a party or person moving for a protective order must show “good cause,” but the need for the motion came into question.
“The court questions whether Allstate’s motion truly constitutes an emergency. Allstate has been aware of almost all of the topics that AGA wishes to inquire about since October and agreed to the deposition date two months in advance. Allstate was also in receipt of the Notice of Deposition since January 15, 2020, yet waited two weeks to contact AGA’s counsel to begin the meet and confer process, and then waited again until three business days before the deposition date to file the motion. Allstate’s protests to the contrary, this emergency was one of Allstate’s own making,” a portion of the order reads.
According to Hoffman, many of the topics listed in the deposition’s notice use the terms “claim” or “each claim.” Hoffman asserts that these terms are not identified in the deposition, and could refer to claims throughout the U.S., or even internationally. The claims for relief are based in Florida and relate to Florida glass and windshield claims. For this reason the court agrees with Allstate that the terms “claim” and “each claim” are ambiguous and overly broad, according to court documents.
“Allstate’s Motion will be granted to the extent that the terms ‘claim’ and ‘each claim’ shall refer only to claims that originated in Florida. That is to mean, a glass and/or windshield claim that was filed against Allstate in Florida, paid by Allstate in Florida, and/or was the subject of a lawsuit by AGA against Allstate in a Florida court,” a portion of the order reads.
The court noted that all parties agreed that the relevant time period for this lawsuit is 2014 through 2018. Meanwhile the insurance company claimed, due to timing, there were attorney-client privilege concerns.
“To the extent Allstate raises, those issues can be addressed via appropriate objection during deposition. Allstate’s objections concerning confidentiality, and in particular any purported settlement agreements with other entities, can be addressed by the parties’ confidentiality agreement. The court notes that Allstate nowhere argues the parties’ confidentiality agreement fails to provide sufficient protections,” a portion of the order reads.
All of the other claims in the emergency motion were granted, according to Hoffman’s order.
For more background on the case, see glassBYTEs’ prior coverage, including how the case started Allstate’s complaint, and yesterday’s story AGA and Isaly’s response to Allstate’s request for an emergency protective order for one of its corporate representatives.
Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for continued coverage of the suit.