Court Rules in Favor of State Farm in Slander Case Brought By Gunder's Auto Center - BodyShop Business
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Court Rules in Favor of State Farm in Slander Case Brought By Gunder’s Auto Center

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On April 7, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for
the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s order granting summary judgment in
favor of State Farm Insurance in a claim filed against the insurer by Gunder’s
Auto Center for slander and tortious interference.

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"We are pleased with this court’s ruling affirming the dismissal of the case," said State Farm. "The decision is consistent with several other rulings deciding similar cases in courts around the country. While State Farm disputes a number of this repair facility’s factual allegations, the issue underlying the suit appears to be the shop’s disagreement with a program that is designed to afford our customers a quality repair experience in a competitively priced environment." 

In April 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday
dismissed Gunder’s suit against State Farm, ruling that although the insurer
may have made defamatory statements about Gunder’s, the shop failed to prove
that the insurer’s primary motive in making such statements was to harm the
shop rather than further its own cause.

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Gunder’s appealed the decision, and in May 2010 the
Federal Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Ga., ordered State Farm to undergo
mediation with Gunder’s to bring a satisfactory resolution to the shop’s claims
against the insurer.

"It’s important to understand that if this ruling
stays, every honest and ethical shop owner in the industry is in jeopardy of
succumbing to similar efforts against them if they don’t fall in line and do as
they’re told by this mega insurer and other insurers who may choose to follow
suit," said Ray Gunder, owner of Gunder’s Auto Center.

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"I’ve been knocked down but I’m not knocked
out," Gunder added. "I’m
going to continue to ‘pound that rock’ and find the justice I believe exists in
our legal system. State Farm speaking improperly and slandering Gunder’s ‘once’
is privileged in the court’s opinion, but speaking lies ‘over and over again’
knowing they are lies is indeed ‘express malice.’"


More information:

Read the court ruling

Gunder’s Auto Center Files Another Suit Against State Farm

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