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Southeastern News

1HomePageMap small se 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and West Virginia

Tornadoes that ripped across states in the southeast portion of the US brought destruction April 27. States hit were Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Arkansas. Alabama was the hardest hit with over half of the fatalities. As of April 28 the confired death toll sits at 250.

To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.

"It looked like it was probably a mile wide," Birmingham Mayor William Bell said of the funnel cloud to CNN. Tuscaloosa, AL, mayor Walter Maddox predicted it would take months for the town to recover.

President Barack Obama had already expressed condolences by phone to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and approved his request for emergency federal assistance on April 28.

In Hueytown, AL, shop owner Jason Wilson was in his business--Jimmy's Auto--when he heard the tornado warning sirens. He gathered his family, including his two children, and decided to ride out the storm in the shop.

About an hour afterward, Wilson stood in the parking lot, stunned, looking at the roof of the store. The roof had been blown off the building as they huddled inside, he said.

"We was fixing to go home and heard the siren," he said to "We took cover. It's about all you can do. And then it just blew the roof off."

If so, contact us, at or call 800-699-8251. We'd like to feature your story in our next issue along with others.

The Mid-State Chapter of the Florida Autobody Collision Alliance (FACA) provided hands-on training to Central Florida area First-Responders including Fire Department personnel from the areas of Lakeland, Auburndale and Winter Haven on April 13.

The Georgia Collision Industry Association (GCIA) held their first monthly meeting of the spring on April 14th at 6:30 PM at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter.

The group had Chuck Elliott, District Manager with  KPA as their guest presenter. Elliott explained the differences between the recent inspections completed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) related to your waste streams within a body shop versus the typical OSHA inspections which are generally about employee safety and compliance.

The night began with a discussion on OSHA and the expectations the organization has when it comes to safety in a collision repair shop. The requirements for shipping hazardous materials with the Department of Transportation was also discussed.

On April 7th, 2011 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of State Farm Insurance in Gunder’s Auto Center’s claim against the nation’s largest personal auto insurer for slander and tortious interference with a business relationship. (See for background.)

To recover for slander in Florida, the claimant must show (1) publication of a false statement; (2) about the plaintiff; (3) to a third party; and (4) damage resulting to plaintiff from the publication.

To state a claim for tortious interference in Florida, the claimant must show (1) the existence of a business relationship; (2) knowledge of the relationship on the part of the defendant; (3) an intentional and unjustified interference by the defendant; and (4) damage from the breach of the relationship.

The court found that,  “although denied by State Farm, we assume the statements allegedly made by State Farm disparaging Gunter’s were made and are untrue. Nonetheless, we agree with the district court that State Farm’s statements were privileged:

Florida House Bill 5005, “Deregulations of Professions and Occupations,” sponsored by Rep. Esteban Bovo Jr., R-Dist. 110, includes provisions that would repeal Florida’s law requiring the registration of motor vehicle repair shops with the Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council and the regulation of motor vehicle repair.

The Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act, which became a law, was created to assist consumers with matters relating to motor vehicle repair shops. The Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council was created to advise and assist the Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services in carrying out and reviewing the rules relating to the Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act. The law applies to dealers of new and used cars, trucks and motorcycles; garages; service stations; self-employed persons; truck stops; and paint, body, brake, muffler, transmission, mobile repair and glass shops.

Registered shops must post, in a conspicuous location in the customer service area, the registration certificate and a sign advising consumers of their rights under the Motor Vehicle Repair Act and give the department’s toll-free telephone number for assistance or information. Shops must also include in the sign a statement advising consumers they are entitled to the return or inspection of replaced parts, if requested at the time the work order is placed. Finally, shops must include their registration number in any advertisements, announcements, or listings relating to motor vehicle repair in any newspaper, magazine or directory.