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

A host of body shops has alleged in Mississippi federal court that a group of insurance providers, including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and GEICO General Insurance Co., of conspiring to manipulate car repair costs in order to reduce their payments.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division-Jackson. Defendants named included: State Farm; Progressive; Allstate; Nationwide; GEICO; United Services Automobile Association; USAA; Safeco; Shelter Mutual Insurance Co.; Direct General Insurance Company of Mississippi; Mississippi Farm Bureau; and Shelter General Insurance Co.
The repair shops are represented by John Arthur Eaves Jr. of John Arthur Eaves Attorneys At Law in Jackson, MS.
The suit named 16 separate insurance firms as defendants, but repeatedly alleges that State Farm largely orchestrated the scheme, which the body shops said involves the artificial suppression labor, repair and material costs and the enactment of harsh punitive measures against non-cooperating repair providers.

As previously reported in Autobody News, last November 27, Michael Bradshaw, VP of Operations at K&M Collision in Hickory, NC, filed six shortpay lawsuits on his customers’ behalf. Of the six cases filed, three were against GEICO, two were against Nationwide, and one against Allstate, with amounts ranging from $680.95 to $5749.64.

A man is facing aggravated battery charges after dispute over a collision repair bill escalated into violence.

Freddy Saladriga, 45, was taken into police custody Jan. 14 after being treated for a gunshot wound as a result of the altercation at All Florida Collision near Bird Road and S.W. 71 Street.

to read rest of story and video go HERE

Michael Bradshaw, VP of Operations of K & M Collision in Hickory, NC, has filed 6 lawsuits against several insurance companies on behalf of his customers, according to Billy Walkowiak, at CollisionSafety.

Florida collision repairers, suppliers and vendors came together in Lakeland, FL, on November 20 to discuss State Farm’s controversial PartsTrader program and identify solutions to combat “short-pays” in the industry. Ray Gunder, owner of Gunder’s Auto Center, filed an injunction against PartsTrader at the Polk County Courthouse on Nov. 20 on behalf of other Florida collision repairers with assistance from attorneys John Eaves, Jr. and Brent Geohagan. Florida follows Mississippi as the second state to file such an injunction.

Cargo Transporters Inc. in Claremont, NC is expanding into the Charlotte market and is expected to create 50 jobs and invest $28 million. The trucking terminal in Charlotte will open in early January, according to a release from the company.

“We are growing our presence in other markets where we have a growing customer base,” said John Pope, chairman of the company. “In the past, all operations were centrally controlled in Claremont, but this will allow us to manage assets and professional drivers outside Catawba County.”

The company plans to hire at least 50 professional drivers in the next 10 months. It plans to put 20 trucks there immediately, as well as some staff. The $23 million investment the company plans includes about 165 new trucks and 200 trailers in the next 10 months, Pope said. Most of the replacements will be for older equipment but a portion will be for growth, he said.

The investment will make the company’s trucks some of the most environmentally friendly and technically advanced fleets in the southeast, the press release said.