The over five-year-long court battle between North State
Custom and Progressive finally came to an end yesterday when the jury cleared
the collision repair facility and its owner, Greg Coccaro, of fraud charges.
"I’m so grateful that the jury was able to see
through Progressive’s tactics and didn’t fall for the fairytale Progressive
tried to tell them," Coccaro said. "I feel exonerated. My business
and reputation mean everything to me. That’s why I insisted on fighting these
Coccaro also expressed gratitude toward his legal team of
Michael G. Santangelo, Erica L. Eversman and Anthony J. Mamo, Jr.
"I couldn’t have asked for better
representation," Coccaro said.
Michael Anderson of www.collisionadvice.com was also
instrumental to North State Custom’s victory as he was able to testify that the
repairs to the vehicle were properly executed and that the defendants were
entitled to charge for the work that was performed.
"Mike Anderson put his reputation on the line
testifying on my behalf, and I owe him many thanks," Coccaro said.
Coccaro is "looking forward to getting back to the
business of performing quality collision repairs for customers" and said
he’s "extremely grateful and touched by all of the support and
encouragement shown by fellow members of the collision repair industry."
"This is a triumph for the entire collision repair
industry," he said. "Now, insurers will know that they can’t accuse
shops of fraud for making repairs according to the blueprint for repair set out
in the shops’ estimates. After all, we are the repair professionals, and it’s
time that insurers stop interfering with how we operate our businesses."
When asked if he would seek the recovery of fees and costs from Progressive, Coccaro said, "Nothing is off the table, but right now we need some time to process this win."
North State Custom vs. Progressive (in chronological order as appeared in BSB):
Enough is Enough April 2007 Editor’s Notes
SCRS Members Identify Disturbing Trends Regarding Insurer Abuse March 1, 2008
Investigative Report Highlights Alleged Steering in New York July 25, 2008
ABAC and CCRE Collecting Donations for Coccaro Aug. 7, 2008
Shop Owner Discusses His Success in Progressive Suit in Podcast Aug. 20, 2008
Judge Orders Progressive to Hand Over Documents in Coccaro Case March 4, 2009
Progressive Given New Deadline for Documents in Coccaro Case April 28, 2009
Progressive Hands Over Claims Files in Coccaro Case June 9, 2009
Article Exposes Insurance Company Steering Tactics June 18, 2009