Friday, 01 November 2013 00:41

Class action alleges collusion between Liberty Mutual and Collision Repair Shops

Regina Anderson, on behalf of herself and a class of other similarly situated, filed suit against Liberty Mutual Insurance in the Circuit Court of Wyoming County.

In her suit filed Sept. 16, Anderson claims Liberty Mutual violated West Virginia law by using deceptive business practices. Liberty Mutual removed it to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on Oct. 15.

The lawsuit stems from what Anderson believes to be collusion between Liberty Mutual and auto repair shops.

According to Anderson, her claim is focused on Liberty Mutual’s “Total Liberty Care” program for auto insurance. Anderson claims that under this program, Liberty Mutual steers its insured customers in need of auto repairs to Liberty Mutual’s preferred list of auto repair shops.

In return, the repair shops allegedly agree to comply with certain conditions and targets imposed by Liberty Mutual, including the time spent on repairs, in exchange for their spot on Liberty Mutual’s preferred facilities list.

Anderson goes on to say the insureds are not required to go to the preferred shops, but Liberty Mutual makes it much simpler and convenient to use the preferred shops. Anderson also alleges Liberty Mutual encouraged the preferred shops to use replacement auto parts in violation of West Virginia law.

Anderson was in an accident and claims Liberty Mutual steered her to the preferred shop called Greg Chandler’s Frame and Body LLC. According to Anderson, she found out that Liberty Mutual told Chandler to use a replacement part on her vehicle, in violation of West Virginia law, or else risk losing its status on the preferred shop list.

Anderson now files suit for her injuries as well as injuries to those who have experienced similar injuries based on their relationship with Liberty Mutual.

Anderson is seeking compensatory damages for the difference in value of the new parts she claims Liberty Mutual should have provided and the replacement parts installed in her car.

She is also seeking punitive damages to deter future violations by Liberty Mutual and other auto insurers. Anderson is represented by Stuart Calwell and Alex McLaughlin of Charleston.

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