Jury Sides with Missouri Dealership Service Center in Collision Repair Cost Dispute

The plaintiff sued after a second estimate came in significantly higher than the first.

The plaintiff sought $263,000 in damages. Image via Shutterstock.

A St. Charles County, MO, jury ruled in favor of a dealership service center accused of significantly underestimating repair costs for a damaged vehicle, Missouri Lawyers Media reported.

Jeremiah L. Johnson lawsuit stemmed from a collision that left his 2013 Ford Explorer in need of repairs. Initially, Pundmann Motor Co., operating as Pundmann Ford, provided an estimate of $6,851.43 for the necessary work. Johnson's insurer, Progressive, wrote its estimate at just under $6,800. However, a second opinion from another body shop suggested the actual repair costs would exceed $20,000.

Johnson accused Pundmann Ford of compromising the vehicle's safety by cutting through a quarter-panel, using unapproved recycled parts and leaving metal shavings in the passenger airbag. Johnson sought $263,000 in damages, including a substantial $250,000 in punitive damages.

However, at the conclusion of the three-day trial, the jury unanimously sided with the defense. Lead defense attorney Corey Kraushaar successfully argued the case for Pundmann Ford, countering the plaintiff's claims and shifting focus to the insurer's role in the estimation process.

Mark Williams, representing Johnson, acknowledged the defense's strategy and the jury's decision, and said his client has no intentions of appealing the verdict.

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