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Seattle Body Shop Prevails in Suit Against Allstate

Assignment of Proceeds case nets shop difference in estimates plus diminished value and court costs.

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Jason Stahl has 27 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 15 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

Haury’s Lake City Collision of Seattle, Wash., has prevailed over Allstate in an Assignment of Proceeds case aimed at recovering the difference between Haury’s estimate and Progressive’s estimate, as well as diminished value, court costs and attorney’s fees.

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An Allstate insured damaged Haury’s client’s vehicle and, according to Haury’s manager Jeff Butler, refused to pay Haury’s labor rate as well as the procedures deemed to be necessary by Haury’s to properly repair the vehicle.

“[Allstate] did their typical, ‘We only pay our estimate and our labor rates and forget you if you think you’re getting anything else,” said Butler.

Also in dispute was the labor necessary to repair the quarter panel as well as a denial of payment for prime, feather and fill, de-nib and finesse, and other operations.

The total reward was $3,679.12, of which $2,042.15 was diminished value, $905.50 for repairs and $731.47 in court costs.

Asked if he feels Allstate will steer his customers’ vehicles away from him as a result of the verdict, Butler said yes.

“No question that Allstate steers customers away from our shop. I have customers come in and say, ‘Wow, what’s up with Allstate? They certainly have bad things to say about you!’”

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Butler said he is very satisfied with the decision but also added that it was a matter of the law.

“It was obvious to the arbitrator that Washington law states that in a property damage situation, the injured party is to receive the reasonable value of necessary repairs to any damaged property plus the depreciation. And we demonstrated to the court that the difference in labor rates and procedures was justified and reasonable and that there is a range. There is not one fixed price in the market, and the range we were in ($56-$58 per hour vs. Allstate’s rate of $50) is reasonable.”

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