John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).

He can be contacted at john@crashnetwork.com 

Wednesday, 09 September 2020 20:25

Latest in Lawsuits Involving Shops, Insurers and an Auto Recycler

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Mississippi attorney John Eaves Jr. began signing body shops on to antitrust lawsuits against insurers back in 2013. Mississippi attorney John Eaves Jr. began signing body shops on to antitrust lawsuits against insurers back in 2013.


There was activity recently in three legal battles involving body shops, insurance companies, an auto recycler and consumers.

A U.S. District Court judge in Florida this summer agreed that a lawsuit in which two Mississippi shops are suing Progressive Insurance for tortious interference should be returned to a federal court in the shops’ state.


The two shops were part of a larger federal antitrust lawsuit, originally brought against multiple insurers in 2014, consolidated to the Florida court with about two dozen similar suits involving shops in other states.


The Mississippi shops’ suit was largely dismissed earlier this year, but because AutoWorks Collision Specialists in Jackson, MI, and Walker Collision Center in Picayune, MI, each pointed to a specific customer they said they lost because of steering tactics they say Progressive used, dismissal of their portion of the lawsuit was overturned on appeal.


Progressive argued the Florida court should continue to oversee the lawsuit, but Judge Gregory Presnell said it should return to the Mississippi federal court where it was originally filed. In remanding the case to Mississippi, however, Presnell indicated that court might choose not to allow it to proceed because the federal antitrust claims in the original lawsuit have been dismissed. That leaves Progressive facing only accusations of violating Mississippi state anti-steering laws.


“Since no federal claims remain, that court may decide that it is prudent to decline to exercise jurisdiction over the state law claims,” Presnell said.


He also ruled this summer on GEICO’s request that the other Mississippi shops---and their attorneys---involved in the portion of the lawsuit that was dismissed cover GEICO’s legal fees fighting the case since 2015. That’s when Mississippi attorney John Eaves Jr.’s firm filed its third version of the lawsuit, after the first two were dismissed.

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