A New York judge has given Progressive one more chance to comply with an order given in February to turn over claims files for roughly 800 vehicles in the ongoing North State Custom vs. Progressive case. Progressive has until May 28 to comply with the order, or the court will rule in favor of North State and its owner, Greg Coccaro.
The claims documents, first requested in early 2008, encompass repairs performed on 800 vehicles at five DRP shops near North State in Westchester County, New York.
On Feb. 23, Progressive was given until the end of April to produce the documents, but argued in court last week that it couldn’t because the documents were maintained on several separate databases in different formats at claims offices throughout the country. Attorneys for North State argued that Progressive was not being forthright and that the company was in violation of New York’s regulations regarding the manner in which insurance companies are required to store and maintain claims files.
Hon. Gerald E. Loehr then ordered Progressive to produce all 800-plus claim files in electronic and hard copy form at the insurer’s expense by May 28.
“It is abundantly clear that there has been an intent on the part of Progressive to frustrate orderly discovery in this case,” Loehr said.
The judge made similar comments during the February hearing, describing the insurer as “begrudging” and “inconsistent.” The case has been in its discovery phase for more than a year, and the claims documents have remained a consistent point of contention.
Coccaro filed the suit against Progressive in 2007 and is trying to prove that Progressive “intentionally misled its insureds to use repair shops other than North State and, in particular, shops within Progressive’s repair network as part of a plan by Progressive to reduce its indemnity costs.”
If Progressive does not comply with the court’s order, a jury would decide the damages Progressive would pay to Coccaro.
To read more about the case, click HERE.
For more information about the fraud suit, click HERE.
To watch a news report about steering in New York featuring Coccaro and Bronx shop owner Mike Trinagel, click HERE.
To read Editor Jason Stahl’s 2007 column about Coccaro when he first initiated his lawsuit against Progressive, click HERE.
For information about donating to Coccaro’s legal fund, click HERE.