It’s gotten even more complicated.
If the defendants in the Allstate vs. Auto Glass America and Charles Isaly (AGA) have their way, a recent decision by a state district court in Broward, Florida will be a factor in their case currently before the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida’s Orlando Division.
AGA filed a copy of an order released July 1 by Broward County Judge Robert W. Lee in a short-pay case filed in the state by AGA against Allstate. Both sides in each case have been fighting over whether or not the appraisal firm Auto Glass Inspection Services (AGIS) is ‘disinterested’ or not. Whether AGIS is determined to be disinterested or not is crucial to Allstate’s argument that the amounts it reimbursed AGA for auto glass replacement services were reasonable. Florida law is clear that if an insurance company invokes an appraisal clause in a policy, the insurer must select an appraiser who is disinterested, said Judge Lee in his order.
AGA had sought access to the agreement between Allstate and AGIS, among other documents.
“Having lost at the appellate level, Allstate was forced to face the music—it would have to turn over the limited discovery that might show whether AGIS was truly disinterested. Rather than comply, Allstate switched its position … and instead decided to simply designate another appraiser,” said Judge Lee in his order. Allstate had argued that it switched appraisers so to ‘streamline’ the resolution of this case—which the judge called “an odd position,” “Allstate’s argument is a hollow effort at best and disingenuous at worst,” Judge Lee wrote in his order.
The order goes on to say that Allstate has avoided this issue in other cases simply by settling those cases.
The judge concluded that Allstate’s switch to a different appraiser provided the relief that AGA was seeking and by doing so, Allstate confessed judgement in the case. As a result, the Judge found that AGA was no longer entitled to the documents it had sought.
AGA’s legal team filed a copy of the order as Exhibit A with the U.S. District Court handling the federal case brought by Allstate in December, 2018.