Allstate Files Fraud Suit Against Washington Auto Glass Shop and Its Owners
January 12, 2011

Allstate Insurance has filed a suit against Auto Glass Express and Premier Auto Glass in Burien, Wash., along with company owners Michael and Trena Perkins, alleging that in multiple cases they billed (and were paid for) OEM glass, while actually "purchasing and installing aftermarket windshields," according to court documents. Previously, the Washington state insurance commissioner's office had filed criminal charges against Michael Perkins for related allegations involving Allstate, State Farm and MetLife.

"Despite the fact that defendants installed an inferior product that defendants had acquired at a lower price, defendants continued to bill and collect funds from Allstate based upon its representations to Allstate that it was installing original manufactured glass in all instances," writes the company in its January 4 complaint. "At no time did defendants ever advise Allstate of the true nature of the work it was performing on subject Allstate insured vehicles. Moreover, defendants never advised Allstate of the fact that it was acquiring the inferior glass products at a reduced rate as opposed to the higher rates being charged to Allstate in the direct billings."

Allstate officials say that when the state's Office of the Insurance Commissioner launched its January 2010 investigation, it "identified a number of specific Allstate customers who had obtained fraudulent services through Premier." These totaled 2,572 Allstate customers serviced by the companies, according to court documents.

The insurer claims the amounts charged for the services for all of these "was fraudulent and deceptive" and that the company has been overcharged a total of $585,946.08 by Premier and Auto Glass Express.

Allstate charges the company with civil fraud, negligent misrepresentation, violation of the consumer protection act, breach of contract, bad faith, and violation of the criminal profiteering act.

The insurer also alleges that while Auto Glass Express and Premier Auto Glass were the corporate entities involved, that the owners of the entities, Michael and Trena Perkins, are "personally liable for the damages suffered by Allstate through the acts and/or omissions of Autoglass Express and Premier Autoglass."

Allstate is represented by Cole, Lether, Wathen, Leid and Hall P.C., and is seeking a jury trial in the case. At press time, neither the Perkins nor their companies had responded to the complaint. A status conference is scheduled for March 8.

In addition, the criminal case against Michael Perkins is still under the review of the King County Superior Court.

Trena Perkins declined to comment on the case.

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