Upon State Farm’s October 10th, 2011 written denial to provide consideration for a plethora of recommended and necessary repair procedures and materials, Ray Gunder owner of the 44 year old Gunder’s Auto Center instructed his legal counsel, Attorney Brent Geohagan, to prepare the necessary steps to file a lawsuit against the nationwide insurer at the request of and authorization by his customer.
The lawsuit was prepared and filed on October 25th along with a Civil Remedy Notice (CRN) which was accepted by the courts on December 16th, 2011. State Farm’s legal counsel responded in a letter to Gunder’s Attorney dated January 19th, 2012 stating, in part, “at all times State Farm acted in good faith and fairly and honestly toward its insured, with due regard for its insured’s interest.”
Furthermore the correspondence states, in part, “State Farm has decided to exercise its rights under Florida law to avoid unnecessary litigation. Accordingly, enclosed is a check made payable to you and Raymond Gunder in the amount of $1090.70—which is the amount demanded in the CRN, plus statutory interest. This amount is paid to ensure that any alleged violations are cured in accordance with the statute of Florida law and to preclude unnecessary litigation. Again, State Farm’s payment should not be construed as an admission of any wrongdoing or liability on the part of State Farm who denies any liability, as well as the standing of Mr. Gunder to pursue any claims, but exercise of its right under Florida law to avoid protracted, vexatious litigation.”
On receiving the news from his attorney, Ray Gunder said, “I am elated that State Farm has chosen to step up and pay what was due our customer and that State Farm elected to settle rather than proceed with a long drawn-out and costly litigation. The word “vexation” means harassing; and/or annoying as if the settlement was settled merely as a nuisance claim. I’ve never once found where an insurer has ever overpaid a claim and they didn’t in this matter either. They knew what they owed and why and that they would lose if it went in front of jury. They also knew, they would surely incur additional and significant legal costs and interest just as they have in the past. I don’t care what they say their motivation was as long as they pay us so we can pay our team-members for every drop of sweat they drop in the repair of our customer’s vehicles.”
“It will be interesting to see how the other three active lawsuits we have filed against State Farm on behalf of our customers turn out,” continued Gunder. “There are an additional 25 more in line behind those which are ripe to be filed for similar issues. We’ll just keep pounding that rock!”