State Farm Claims Department Hours – A Harris County, Texas, small claims court decision upheld a body shop discovery in State Farm’s prevailing rate accounting and other estimating practices.
Harris County’s 8-1 Justice of the Peace decision Feb. 6 by Holly Williamson “was more in my favor than State Farm,” according to Pasadena, Texas-based Deer Park Paint and Body owner Larry Cernousek.
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State Farm told us in an earlier article about the case that its policy is not to comment on pending cases.
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“(T)he judge explained that the definitions, the estimator software profile, how the prevailing rate is determined and the estimator’s training are not trade secrets or confidential information,” Cernosek wrote in an email reviewing the Feb. 5 hearing. Before the order.
Williamson’s Feb. 6 order denied State Farm’s Jan. 6 broad motion to dismiss. However, she denied three tortious interference claims that Cernosic brought against the insurer.
“The court finds that plaintiff cannot maintain a cause of action for tortious interference with respect to these three claims/clients,” Williamson wrote.
In its motion to dismiss, State Farm also argued that the two third-party claimants should sue the insurance policyholders if they “have any difficulty in not receiving benefits under the policy.”
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“The claimant and the insured discussed the matter for at least 30 minutes, three claims for insurance, one of which was my personal car claim,” Cernosk wrote on Feb. 7. The judge was concerned about these claims as they related to severe interference. … The judge asked who these checks were made out to in addition to the Deer Park paint and body checks on all three.
Williamson denied Cernousek’s third additional discovery request but granted his motion to compel discovery. She also ruled against State Farm’s motion for a protective order regarding discovery.
“New evidence shows that State Farm’s objections based on trade secrets were valid and that Plaintiffs’ purpose for discovery was harassment and infringement of property rights,” State Farm argued in a January 3, 2019, motion to amend. Referring to the cynical comments made in the news article by the applicant. . It also offered affidavits from two employees, one declaring the company’s audits license confidential, and the other declaring various items as trade secrets.
“Plaintiffs now seek to withhold court-ordered discovery without reason when the court based its decision on grounds that the court did not provide as an excuse for not responding to discovery,” Cernousek wrote in a Jan. 8 response. accepted.” Ask the court to approve the insurance.
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Williamson filed a five-item discovery request in October 2019 over State Farm objections. This included training state farm regulators, calculating the carrier’s labor rate and its definitions of “reasonable and customary,” “prevailing market rate,” and “pre-accident condition.”
On December 5, 2019, Williamson approved the remaining four items after Cernosek submitted four letters explaining the Texas Department of Insurance’s inability to address some basic auto claim issues. Her order granted Cernosic’s request for a state farm estimate profile regarding claims on the subject and information about the carrier’s inclusion of P-pages and manufacturer procedures in the estimate software.
“We now have thirty days to amend the pleadings and another hearing on the amended pleadings will be held in the future,” Cernousek wrote on February 7.
Larry Cernosek, owner of Pasadena, Tex.-based Deer Park Paint & Body, stands left with a sign for his company. (Provided by Cernosek)
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