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
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
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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