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Volume 8, Issue 1        January/February 2006

WGR Reports
   repair news

LEGAL

Judge Dismisses All Claims In Long Crack Repair Case; Campfield Files Motion for Reconsideration

The lawsuit filed by Richard Campfield and his company, Ultra Bond Inc., against State Farm and LYNX over long-crack repair has been dismissed. The judge said that “a reasonable fact finder could not conclude that the defendants have knowingly and intentionally deceived State Farm insureds in implementing State Farm’s six-inch criterion ... could not conclude that the alleged misrepresentation has had a significant public impact in the past, or will have such an impact in the future,” and “absent evidence of a breach of an Ultra Bond license contract, or evidence that the defendants used any wrongful means to interfere with Ultra Bond’s at will licensing contracts ...” 

Campfield and Ultra Bond filed the suit in the U.S. District Court of Colorado in February, 2003, alleging “unfair or deceptive trade practices in violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and tortious interference with contract and with prospective business relations” on the part of State Farm and LYNX. The plaintiffs allege that when a State Farm insured calls in a claim for a cracked windshield, if the crack is determined to be longer than six inches (considered a “long crack”), the insured is encouraged to have the windshield replaced rather than repaired and that the benefits of repair are not fully explained. By doing so, they further state, State Farm and LYNX have interfered with the licensing of the Ultra Bond method of repairing long cracks.

Last July, State Farm and LYNX both filed motions for summary judgments. They asserted that a CCPA claim is subject to a three-year statute of limitations that begins “within three years of the date ‘on which the false, misleading or deceptive act or practice occurred,’” and the tortious interference claim should have been “brought within two years after the cause of action accrues.”

According to the Order Concerning Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgement, “the defendants note that the plaintiffs were aware of the facts on which they base their claims more than three years before the plaintiffs filed their Complaint.” 

In the wake of Judge Blackburn’s ruling, Campfield released a formal statement indicating that he plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

“We were disappointed with the judge’s decision, one month before trial, but our greatest concern is the impact this decision may have on consumer choice and upon the good people in our industry trying to level the playing field. The judge was not convinced that the practices of State Farm and Lynx Services from PPG have a significant public impact. Our plan is to bring even more evidence to the court and, if necessary, file an appeal of this and other issues. We hope that trial will occur thereafter. We will continue the fight,” the statement read.

Campfield made good on that statement, filing a Motion for Reconsideration at the end of December.

In the Motion for Reconsideration, the Plaintiff, which is Campfield both individually and on behalf of his company, ask for “the Court to revisit certain of its Findings and Conclusions as contrary to the evidence and law” and request a new trial date be set for the case.

Campfield cites the judge’s ruling that “a reasonable fact finder could not conclude here that the six-inch windshield repair criterion ‘affects a significant number of consumers’ under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”) because there is ‘no evidence demonstrating the number of consumers impacted by this practice,’” and notes that “unlike other prima facie elements of Plaintiffs’ claims, these number calculations were not disputed on summary judgment. Plaintiffs did not lay out their entire trial presentation in a twenty-page written response, but only responded to those matters challenged and the arguments made in Defendants’ motions for summary judgment.”

Campfield also challenges the rulings of the judge based on mathematical representations of the number of State Farm insureds, the number of windshield damage claims and the number of those claims that result in windshield replacements. Stating that the number of State Farm insured is an “undisputed” 40 million and that the insurer has 28-29 percent of the auto insurance market. Campfield also states in his Motion for Reconsideration that it is an undisputed fact “that approximately 1.7 million claims are made annually for windshield damage to State Farm, and that approximately 66 percent of those claims (or 1.1 million) result in windshield replacements.” Continuing to cite the summary judgment, Campfield points out that exhibits from both parties and affidavits from his own company show more than 90 percent of windshield cracks are considered long cracks and that 80 percent of windshield replacements are caused by long cracks not being recognized as repairable.

“Therefore, by mathematical computation, approximately 800,000 windshields are replaced at a minimum each year by State Farm due to long crack damage,” Campfield argues.

INDUSTRY

NWRA Hires New Management Company 

The National Window Repair Association (NWRA) has hired Key Communications Inc. to provide management services for the association, effective January 1, 2006. 

Key Communications provides a variety of information services for the glass industry and publishes USGlass and AGRR magazines, among others. Peg Stroka remains as director of operations of the NWRA and has become an employee of Key. 

Applications Available for 2006 Cindy Rowe Young Entrepreneur Awards

High school juniors and seniors who run their own businesses can start applying for the 2006 Cindy Rowe Auto Glass Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

The award, given annually since 1999, recognizes young people who have established and run their own companies. The program has awarded more than $40,000 to teens who have run a variety of businesses.

“The goal of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award is to help motivate young people to follow their dreams and succeed,” says Cindy Rowe, founder and president of Cindy Rowe Auto Glass, headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa. “These young entrepreneurs of today will lead the next generation to successful business people and employers. We want to encourage their initiative, hard work and success.”

Teen entrepreneurs can visit www.cindyroweaward.com to learn more about the competition, download a printable application or submit an online application to be considered for the 2006 award. The deadline to submit applications is March 31, 2006. 


© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.