Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's final settlement in April with two auto insurers will result in estimated refunds of more than $700,000 to Texas policyholders who paid more on their claims for auto repairs than their policies required.
The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, H.R. 2735, has reached a landmark number of 106 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). The Right to Repair Act was introduced in the House July 15, 2003, by Representatives. Joe Barton (R-TX) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and in the U.S. Senate on February 26, 2004, by Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC). The Senate bill, S. 2138, has 10 co-sponsors in the Senate.
A California state court lawsuit for alleged price-fixing by paint companies in the automotive refinishing market has taken a big step forward. Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw on June 17 granted a motion certifying the case as a class action. The step is important because individual named plaintiffs, namely small body shops, would have been unable to prosecute an expensive price-fixing case against large corporate defendants such as DuPont and PPG.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced in April the final regulations governing overtime eligibility for "white-collar" workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The regulations had not been substantially updated for over 50 years, creating confusion for workers and employers, generating wasteful class action litigation, and failing to effectively protect workers' pay rights, according to the Department of Labor.
The Joint Sunset Review Committee and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has issued recommendations to the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). These recommendations are similar to those submitted to the Sunset Review Committee by the DCA Director Charlene Zettel in early June, with one notable exception and two additional recommendations (see June ABN).
In May Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law House Bill 2468. HB 2468 includes anti-steering provisions that protect consumer choice and place limitations on the claims adjuster making repair decisions, thereby protecting the competitive market. The bill has mandatory reporting requirements with stiff penalties for violations of the bill.
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has announced that received workers' compensation rate filings illustrate a downward trend, but still fall short of his pure premium rate advisory of -20.9 percent issued on May 28, 2004.