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State Farm, 21st Century and Security National settle with Lakeland, Fla.-based collision center. Meanwhile, shop files new lawsuit against Travelers.
Gunder’s Auto Center of Lakeland, Fla., has received settlement payments from State Farm, 21st Century and Security National for processes and materials Gunder’s claims they previously refused to pay.
On behalf of and at the request of his customers, owner Ray Gunder filed legal complaints against 21st Century and Security National. Last week, Gunder’s received notice that both had agreed to pay charges for previously denied items including paint and materials, parts return fees, and miscellaneous processes and procedures necessary to perform proper repairs. They also agreed to pay all legal costs and attorney’s fees, which amounted to $3,314.34 and $1,690.86, respectively.
Last week, Gunder’s received a settlement payment of $346.66 from State Farm after the shop filed a Civil Remedy Notice. The insurer elected to settle rather than go before a judge and jury for previously denied processes and materials.
Also last week, a second lawsuit was filed against Travelers for non-payment of a parts return fee resulting from the acquisition and return of what Gunder’s claims were "ill-fitting" aftermarket parts a fee that Gunder says "most, if not all other carriers, now pay."
“The more we do, the faster they seem to settle,” says Gunder. “The best thing is that more and more insurers and claims people are paying what is fair and reasonable to avoid being sued. The need for legal action is decreasing as more insurers pay what is fair and reasonable.
"We have a reputation for quality work, and I hear on a regular basis now, ‘I’m told to pay Gunder’s what you ask for because we know you’re going to do it… and actually Ray, we would pay other shops in your area but they simply don’t ask.
“I’m overwhelmed by all the attention I’ve been getting on these issues, but as I’ve said many times and continue to say, I’m just a simple country boy who works hard to please my customers and who wants to see my hardworking employees get paid for every drop of sweat they drop. I couldn’t have waged these efforts or been as successful if it weren’t for my brilliant attorney, Brent Geohagan, and the experience and business coaching of Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts, both of whom have become very close and trusted friends of mine. Without their wealth of knowledge and their moral support and encouragement, I don’t know if I would have or could have embarked on this journey."