A federal judge has returned the West Virginia attorney general’s suit against Liberty Mutual and one of its DRP shops over used parts back to state court and its original place of filing in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
The defendants had argued that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) created a “federal question,” but, conferring jurisdiction on his court, Chief Judge Goodwin ruled that:
“The provisions of the MMWA cited by the defendants prohibits warrantors of consumer products from conditioning their warranties in certain circumstances. In contrast, the Crash Parts Act maintains standards for motor vehicle body shops and insurance companies for the repair of new automobiles. The federal and state statutes govern different actors and different conduct. It is nonsensical to allege that a claim that an insurance company and a motor vehicle body shop have repaired automobiles in a way that violates the Crash Parts Act is actually a claim under the MMWA, which applies to warrantors of consumer products.”
The case will now head back to state court for a hearing on the attorney general’s original request for an injunction to prohibit conduct that violates the West Virginia Crash Parts Act.
On Dec. 15, West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual and Greg Chandler’s Frame & Body in St. Albans, West Virginia, for allegedly repairing new vehicles with used parts.
The lawsuit states that Liberty Mutual began requiring that Chandler’s, a DRP for the insurer, use reconditioned “junkyard parts” on vehicles three years old or less from the date of the crash.
However, that policy goes against a state law that specifies that shops will not install used parts on cars that were manufactured within three years of the date of the crash unless the vehicle owner explicitly allows it.
West Virginia Body Shop, Insurer Sued Over Use of Salvage Parts in Repair