The meeting included a BMW technical repair training seminar as part of LIABRA's ongoing initiative to provide members with OEM training. The meeting also included guest speaker Todd Tracy, who presented "Anatomy of a Lawsuit."
More than 200 collision repair industry professionals attended the meeting. Attendees also enjoyed an Italian buffet dinner before it began, courtesy of the evening's host, the Competition Automotive Group. The meeting commenced at 7:30 p.m. with LIABRA Executive Director Ed Kizenberger providing some industry news and updates.
He reported, "Members of LIABRA’s Workmen’s Compensation safety group received a 30 percent dividend on their Workmen’s Compensation insurance premium this year. In general, participation in the safety group will save you more than enough money to cover the cost of your LIABRA membership dues."
Kizenberger announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Control (DEC) is visiting Long Island shops to re-register air permits. He encouraged members to call him at 631-941-9647 to ensure their permit applications are completed properly if they receive such a visit.
He warned, "They are also checking hazardous waste disposal invoices. As always, make sure your production and paint areas are neat and clean, and you have no open-to-the-air containers of solvents."
Next, Kizenberger introduced David Sosa, BMW Technical Repair Trainer, who spent an hour reviewing BMW's levels of structural repairs, various BMW construction materials and BMW advanced technologies. Discussing BMW's correct repair procedures, Sosa recommended that shops visit bmwtechinfo.com to obtain the latest repair procedures when working on any BMW vehicle, and he also advised that association members can receive free BMW repair training through their local BMW dealer.
Texas Attorney Todd Tracy was introduced next to discuss his experience with the Seebachan lawsuit.
According to Kizenberger, "Todd Tracy is a very dynamic speaker, and he reviewed how he won a $42 million lawsuit against the John Eagle Collision Center. Prior to this case, Tracy’s law firm had won $1.2 billion in cases against the OEMs for vehicle crashworthiness.
"Todd convinced the jury that the John Eagle Collision Center had done an improper repair in order to save money and had compromised the safety cage of the vehicle, causing it to collapse [and] trap Matthew Seebachan, causing his injuries. The jury awarded Matthew Seebachan $42 million. After the case, some of the jurors said they would’ve awarded more money had Tracy asked for it!
“The bottom line is the jury felt the OEM repair recommendations were actually a repair requirement. If you are repairing collision damage vehicles, you must adhere to the OEM requirements, or you open yourself up to a liability case."
LIABRA and ABCG's meeting concluded with raffle drawings. In addition to raffling off dozens of BMW shirts and hats, the grand prize raffle item was a BMW mountain bike, won by Al from Central Auto Body. Mert from Best Way Collision won the 50/50 drawing.
Kizenberger stated, "LIABRA would like to thank the Competition Auto Group and Competition BMW for providing the venue, chairs, tables, dinner, refreshments and raffle prizes, and Todd Tracy for coming from Texas to make his presentation."
For more information, visit www.liabra.org.