Tuesday, 17 March 2015 00:00

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys at Eaves Law Firm Encourage Shops to Share Stories About Alleged Steering

Auto body shops in 36 states are now part of the antitrust Multi District Lawsuit (MDL) in Florida. John Eaves Jr., the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, is encouraging shop owners across the country to share their stories about alleged steering and other insurance practices, regardless whether or not they are part of the lawsuit.

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Eaves Law Firm in Mississippi plans to use these experiences to help prepare affidavits for an injunction the firm is about to file. “This injunction is going to be asking the court to stop the insurance company’s steering practices and other retaliatory practices,” he said.

In March, Autobody News reported that Judge Gregory Presnell in Florida had dismissed a large portion of the lawsuit. “Since that has happened, we actually found out more information,” said Eaves. The law firm has been preparing the documentation to refile the claims that were dismissed without prejudice.  

When Autobody News spoke to Eaves, he said that Judge Presnell indicated that he wants more specifics in regards to the lawsuit. In response, Eaves Law Firm has been rewriting the lawsuits to include specific information from the auto body shops.  

Although Eaves said this was not their original intention, the Eaves team has been collecting information from the shops. “We’ve tried to give the judge enough detail and enough information so he can have the confidence to move forward,” he said.

He also said that some of the lawsuits have been put on hold until the firm can best determine how the judge wants them filed. Then the other lawsuits can be filed in a similar manner. Each state’s lawsuit has a different deadline.

Eaves and his team have also been focusing on answering the defendants’ move to dismiss the lawsuit.

There is a standing court date once a month, with the latest one held on March 6. Eaves said the purpose of that hearing was to speed up the process. “Thanks to the leadership of Judge Smith, who is the magistrate on the case, we discussed several ways to expedite the process.”

Meanwhile, auto body shops are continuing to join the MDL, with 20 more being added the week prior to Autobody News going to press.

Eaves said he wants the case to be the best it can be. “We’re working to ensure it is as comprehensive as possible and lays out all of the unfair trade practices and all of those things that have made it difficult for our shops to do their job,” he said.

Auto body shops across the country that wish to share their stories should contact steve@eaveslaw.com

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