Court Brief Reveals AGA Strategy

Trial briefs were filed last month in the U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla. In the Allstate v. Auto Glass America litigation. Trial briefs indicate to the court the arguments that the parties plan to set forth in litigation and serve as preview of the factual and legal issues that will be argued at the federal trial scheduled to commence on November 1, 2021.

Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, and Allstate Property and Casualty (Allstate) v. Auto Glass America, LLC, and its owner Charles Isaly. (AGA) was filed in December 2018, with the plaintiffs Allstate alleging that defendant Auto Glass America (AGA) had engaged in a plan to unlawfully obtain payment for excessive and/or unreasonable charges by submitting inflated invoices which the insurer paid at a reduced rate (a practice known as short-rating). Allstate also alleged AGA would then sue them when it paid less than the invoice amount. AGA later filed a counterclaim against Allstate.

In its trial brief Auto Glass America (AGA) denies the allegations and claims that Allstate is not entitled to refund or monetary damages even if AGA and Isaly committed the alleged acts.

AGA states that one of Allstate’s claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUPTA) is based on an alleged violation of Florida’s Home Solicitation Act (FHSSA), which does not include a private right of action, never mind a right of action by an insurance company. AGA states that Allstate’s other claims under FDUPTA are based on facts that cannot be proven at trial or that “Allstate simply has no basis or theory to provide legal causation and actual damages.”

Regarding Allstate claims that AGA neither received a fully compliant Assignment of Benefits from its Allstate insured customers and never received one at all, AGA says that Allstate cannot raise or invoke Assignment of Benefits issues because Allstate is not a party to any assignment, which is a contract between AGA and its customers. AGA says that despite Allstate’s allegations, a written assignment is not required. “Facts of the case indisputably establish that each customer understood that they would receive a new windshield in exchange for a broken one for no charge and AGA would collect any amounts owed under the insurance policy from Allstate,” submitted AGA.

AGA also argues that Allstate cannot prove that any individual alleged deceptive or unfair act caused Allstate actual damages under a FDUPTA causation analysis. Additionally, it is argued that Allstate is neither a “buyer” or a “seller” under the FHSSA or the Federal Trade Commission Rule and thus cannot claim damages. 

Finally, AGA argues that Allstate cannot maintain its unjust enrichment claims enumerated in the lawsuit because a statutory violation necessitates a claim to be “non-reimbursable” and there is no argument that AGA should be compensated nothing for providing the insured customers with their new windshields.

Next week, glassBYTEs will summarize the trial brief submitted by plaintiff Allstate.

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