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Midwestern News

1HomePageMap small mw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

An insurance company accused of refusing to cover a customer’s collision claim is seeking to dismiss a St. Clair County, IL, lawsuit.

According to the complaint filed Sept. 17, plaintiff Paula J. Beland claims she was involved in a chain traffic collision on Sept. 17, 2011. A driver hit the car behind Beland, which then allegedly hit her car.

Beland had insurance through defendant Automobile Club Inter-Insurance Exchange at the time of the collision, the suit states. She filed a claim with the insurance company, seeking money for her damages as a result of the collision. However, the insurance company refused to settle Beland’s underinsured motorist claim, the complaint alleges.

The defendant filed its motion to dismiss on Oct. 18 through attorneys Michael Reda and Daniel C. Lytle of Hepler Broom in Edwardsville claiming the plaintiff failed to state a cause of action.

“In this case, plaintiff’s complaint fails to separate causes of action for breach of contract and recovery pursuant to the Illinois Insurance Code,” the motion states.

The defendant filed for a substitution of judge on Oct. 29, which Chief Judge John Baricivic granted. Circuit Judge Robert LeChien was previously assigned to the case. A new judge has not yet been assigned.

The plaintiff seeks a judgment of more than $35,000, costs, fees and an additional $25,000.

Beland is represented by B. Jay Dowling of the Law Offices of Sterling and Dowling in Fairview Heights.

Thriving in a Consolidating Collision Repair Marketplace


November 20th, 2013



Embassy Suites Minneapolis-Airport

7901 34th Avenue South

Bloomington, MN 55425



Description: How progressive independent and dealer auto body shops can thrive in a consolidating, web, social, and mobile world.

Who Should Attend: Independent and dealer single and multiple location shop owners and managers that are interested in learning how they can compete and succeed in a sonsolidating, web, social and mobile world.

What Attendees Will Learn: Attendees will be introduced to Ideas, products and services that will help them successfully compete against local, regional and national consolidators and franchisors. They will also learn how they can use the latest sales, marketing, customer retention and referral tools, technologies and techniques to capture, service and retain more customers, revenue and profit in a consolidating marketplace. 

The Presenters: Jim Keller and Frank Terlep have more than 75 years of combined collision industry experience between them.





Jim built his first shop in 1981; a second three years later. Jim has been a franchisee, consolidator and founded and operates the 1Collision Network. Keller is a former board member and past Chairman of the National Automotive Service Association, CIC Gold Pin member, former 3M/ARMS management workshop instructor, an inductee to the Collision Industry Hall of Eagles and was name 2003 Body Shop Business Magazine Executive of the Year.



Frank has been involved in the design and development of more than a dozen technology solutions for the collision repair industry, including the industry's first web based parts procurement platform, first mobile phone app, first CRM system, first mobile, social, web and digital sales, marketing, customer retention and referral platform, 4 different industry management systems and several other industry platforms still in use in thousands of shops in North America.


- Welcome and Introductions

- Discussion of attendees biggest market challenges

- Industry and consolidation trends

- Digital, social, mobile and web sales, marketing, retention and referral trends and how       they relate to the collision repair industry

- How independent auto body shops can succeed in a consolidating industry

- How independent auto body shops can capture, service and retain more customers, revenue, and profit in a consolidating marketplace

- How autobody shops in Minnesota can remain independent and receive many of the advantages local, regional and national consolidators claim to have over independent auto body shops

- Open discussion/Q&A


Cost: $79.00 for Event, refreshments and afternoon break

$159.00 for Special Guest Room Rates (contact hotel to book a room if necessary)


NOTE: Attendance is limited to 50 independent and dealership body shops


To attend this important and exciting event click below and complete the form. To register by phone, contact Karen Molnar at 888.377.2661 EXT. 112 or send Karen an email at kmolnar@summitsoftwaresolutions.com

Michigan officials and law enforcement authorities say they’re cracking down on fraudulent auto insurers and Michigan drivers who purchase their policies.

But consumer advocates say the new initiative, announced by Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, fails to address the underlying problem: exorbitant car insurance premiums caused by Michigan’s mandatory no-fault system that requires drivers to purchase basic coverage that includes unlimited medical benefits. Lawmakers are expected to debate this fall on whether to reform the system and make it more affordable.

Baker’s Collision Repair Specialists Inc., a collision repair facility located in Mansfield, Ohio, will host an Open House to celebrate "60 Years in Business" on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Baker’s has been in operation by family members since it was founded by Mervin and Esther Baker in the fall of 1953. Starting out in a two-car garage on Snyder Street in Mansfield, it has now expanded to its current 40-stall facility that has been located on 5th Avenue since 1956.

"The Baker and Powell families and all of the staff extend an invitation to the public to attend and join in the celebration," said a company spokesperson. "This day is to honor all of our generations of customers that have made it possible for us to continue to be of service to them."

Complimentary hot dogs and bratwurst, chips and soft drinks will be served to attendees. There will be facility tours, displays of community projects and door prize giveaways, including an iPad as a grand prize. In addition, Baker's has partnered with Sherwin-Williams to showcase the No. 16 Greg Biffle Stock Car at the shop.

Midwest Collision Center Inc. announced a major green initiative to replace their fluorescent lighting with LED lighting from Green Universal Solutions Co. (GUSCO) becoming the first automotive body repair center in Michigan to make the change to replace every light with LED lighting.

“Besides being responsible in going green with LED, you get so many advantages ... better and brighter light, tremendous savings in energy used, the cost of the energy, replacement and maintenance costs with some of the LED lighting having an L70 rating of 200,000 hours,” says Ed Schippers, co-owner of Midwest Collision. “It really was a no brainer, a win-win-win for our decision to go LED. We win with all the savings... computed to be over $130,000 during first 10 years based on our current energy bills. Our employees win with better, cleaner, brighter, safer LED light. Our environment wins because when we save energy, we save all the pollutants that happen from creating that electricity.”

“I also appreciate the way that Steven Kuivenhoven, energy consultant from GUSCO, approached us... in that he had a conversation, he asked questions, listened to us share how our current lighting was inadequate, he asked for copies of our energy bills, took numerous light readings throughout the shop, then his findings were submitted and a proposal was created by the engineers at GUSCO. He then shared the proposal with us. It was very complete with all data we needed to make a decision,” says Ed and continues “GUSCO even fills out the consumers energy incentive paperwork for us... how great is that?” Joe Brule, co-owner of Midwest Collision adds, “The cars themselves are equipped with more and more LEDs. LEDs are everywhere. It’s the best time to upgrade for many reasons including the uncertainty about future electric rates. Consumers Energy supports the upgrade with an incentive and because GUSCO was able  to cut our energy 76% we will, according to our company accountant, be eligible for a 179D tax deduction.”

“We at Midwest are all anxious to experience the LED lighting with the scheduled installation being the first part of September. “For the sake of our environment, your employees and your pocketbook, I would encourage every auto repair facility to contact Steven at GUSCO 269-779-6005 and learn about the savings.”

The Ohio Court of Appeals has upheld class certification in a suit alleging that the arbitration clause in a Cleveland-area dealership group’s sales agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable, according to Eric Freedman writing in Automotive News.

The 2-1 ruling against Ganley Chevrolet and Ganley Automotive Stores came in a spot delivery-related dispute that began in March 2001, after Jeffrey and Stacy Felix purchased a 2000 Chevy Blazer.

Ganley has asked the appellate court for reconsideration and, if that’s unsuccessful, may seek state Supreme Court review, says dealership lawyer Steven Dever of Lakewood, Ohio.

The plaintiffs contend that Ganley told them they were approved for 0 percent financing and let them take home the Blazer. But a few days later, Ganley told them GMAC would approve only 1.9 percent financing, which they accepted. More than a month later, they were told GMAC had rejected them. The dealership then found a bank that would provide a 9.4 percent loan, but the Felixes refused to sign a new agreement at that rate, the decision said. The suit alleges “bait-and-switch tactics,” violation of the state Consumer Sales Practices Act, misrepresentation, and emotional distress. It includes individual and class-action claims and challenges the validity of the arbitration provision in the sales agreement. A lower-court judge rejected Ganley’s request for arbitration and approved class-action status on behalf of all consumers whose sales agreement with any Ganley store had the same provision. Ganley Automotive Stores has 34 franchises in northern Ohio.

The judge found the provision ambiguous and misleading and awarded $200 in damages to each of the “thousands of members” of the class. It covers customers who signed such agreements from two years before the lawsuit was filed in June 2001 until the company changed the provision in 2007, said plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Schlachet of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

However, only a “handful” of those customers went to arbitration, Dever said. He added: “How can you quantify the harm when people had no complaint? The analysis is fundamentally flawed.” The appeals court held that class-action status was appropriate under the consumer protection law.

Appeals Judge Mary Kilbane said the trial judge, who handled the case for 11 years, had “conducted a rigorous analysis into whether the prerequisites for class certification have been satisfied.