Shop Files Response to State Farm in Tortious Interference Suit;
Argues That State Farm is Not a Party to Its Relationship with Customers
May 29, 2009
Gunder's Auto Center, a body shop based in Lakeland, Fla., has
filed a response to State Farm Insurance's motion to dismiss its
tortious interference suit. In the suit, Gunder's alleges that State
Farm tortiously interfered with at least three customers and made
"slanderous and/or tortious statements to those identified
Gunder's claims these false statements included State Farm advising
that the shop was overcharging its customers; that it doesn't repair
its customers' vehicles in a timely and efficient way; and that
Gunder's repair equipment does not pass State Farm's inspection
and is lacking in quality.
In State Farm's motion to dismiss, the company claimed that because
these three customers ultimately went to Gunder's and the body shop
submitted claims to State Farm, the insurer "is a party to
the business relationship and cannot be found to interfere with
that business relationship." Likewise, State Farm claims that
Gunder's "fails to allege that State Farm's conduct
actually caused Gunder's customers and prospective customers to
not do business with Gunder's."
However, Gunder's argues that although State Farm may sometimes
pay Gunder's directly or reimburse customers for work completed
there, "Gunder's is never and has never been required to secure
the consent of State Farm in order to contract with their, or any
other customers or prospective customers, to perform work on their
Likewise, the company claims that State Farm is not "the source
of the agreement between Gunder's and its customers for the work
performed on its customer's automobiles."
Gunder's also points out in its response that customers and/or
prospective customers are not required to obtain State Farm's consent
before seeking repair work from the shop.
"State Farm is not the source of any business relationship
between Gunder's and its customers and/or prospective customers,
and its authorization or consent is absolutely uneccessary for purposes
of any business relationship between Gunder's and its customers
and/or prospective customers," writes Gunder's.
HERE for full text of State Farm's motion to dismiss.
HERE for full text of response from Gunder's Auto Center.
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