“They do this a lot to insurers,” she said. “This is the way they make their money. I think for them it's better to roll the dice and see where the case goes. I’ve never seen them back away from a fight.”
For the past three years, Columbus attorney Charley Hess has been fighting Three-C’s court battles. He said his client had not yet decided whether to appeal the Court of Appeals’ decision to the Ohio Supreme Court. He said he did try to take the two losses against Nationwide to the Supreme Court, but the justices refused to review the appellate court decisions.
Hess said he and his clients haven’t given up fighting underpayments by insurers even if the latest case isn’t appealed.
He said Three-C has invested heavily in scanning equipment that automobile manufacturers insist be used or they won’t honor vehicle warranties. Insurers won’t pay repair bills that support the use of that expensive equipment. As long as carriers underpay, policyholders end up picking up the cost, he said.
The unjust enrichment argument didn’t fly in the case against Liberty Mutual, but Hess said there are still other circumstances where the argument may prove persuasive, and his clients intend to continue litigating until the courts provide some forum where body shops’ arguments that insurers are paying unfair rates can be heard.
“They’ve been doing this for 20 to 30 years,” Hess said. “They really want to make some inroads, not only for themselves, but for the customers.”