Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, Fla., has
filed another lawsuit against State Farm, this time alleging breach of contract
and tortious interference.
A previous suit filed by Gunder against State Farm is currently under review
in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. It also alleged tortious
interference but also accused the insurer of slander.
Gunder’s new suit involves a customer, Dewey Walker, who
granted Gunder a limited power of attorney to "institute, prosecute,
defend, compromise, settle, appeal or terminate any administrative proceedings,
civil claims, litigation or other proceedings…against [State Farm]."
According to Gunder, Walker, a State Farm insured,
entered into a contract with Gunder’s Auto Center around February 3 to repair
his 2002 Mercedes Benz SLK230. A State Farm employee, Larry Swearengin, who
Gunder says was under the direction of fellow State Farm employee Robert Davis,
then came out to inspect the damaged vehicle and write an estimate.
"Swearengin, under the direction of Davis, knowingly
underestimated the amount necessary, reasonable and ‘competitive in the market
area’ to bring the damaged Mercedes back to pre-loss condition," says
Gunder alleges that State Farm refused to pay for the
repair procedures necessary to bring the Mercedes back to pre-loss condition,
thereby breaching its insurance policy contract with Walker.
Gunder has requested a jury trial in the suit, and is
represented by Brent Geohagan of Geohagan P.A.
Gunder’s Awaits Court’s Ruling in State Farm Case
Court Orders State Farm to Undergo Mediation with Gunder’s
Consumer Lambastes State Farm Over Repair Experience