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Seebachans Revive State Farm ‘Neighbor from Hell’ Lawsuit, Aim to Get Insurers ‘Out of Repair Business’

The law firm representing Matthew and Marcia Seebachan has re-filed the couple’s lawsuit against State Farm for the insurer’s alleged role in a negligent repair.

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Josh Cable has 17 years of experience as a writer and editor for newspapers, B2B publications and marketing organizations. His areas of expertise include U.S. manufacturing, lean/Six Sigma and workplace safety and health.

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The law firm representing Matthew and Marcia Seebachan has re-filed the couple’s lawsuit against State Farm for the insurer’s alleged role in a negligent repair.

The Tracy Law Firm re-filed the lawsuit immediately after a Dallas County jury ordered John Eagle Collision Center to pay nearly $31.5 million in damages for a botched repair that allegedly exacerbated the Seebachans’ injuries in a 2013 collision.

The lawsuit alleges that State Farm strong-armed John Eagle Collision Center into using an adhesive to replace the hail-damaged roof of the Seebachans’ 2010 Honda Fit before they owned it. Honda’s repair specifications call for the roof to be welded.

While shop owners who’ve been following the John Eagle case might be eager to see State Farm get its comeuppance, attorney Todd Tracy told BodyShop Business that the lawsuit will seek only $1 in damages.

“My clients have been paid,” Tracy said. “But I want the public to know what State Farm is doing. They are not experts in the repair industry.”

Tracy said he believes the John Eagle verdict will help “get the insurance company out of the repair business,” and he hopes the State Farm lawsuit will do the same.

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“We want to get the insurance company out of [collision repairers’] hair,” Tracy told BodyShop Business. “We want to get them out of the way and let these repair shops do it the right way, because they know how to do it.

“These guys are trained. They have specializations and expertise in how to return our vehicles back to the way they’re supposed to be. But you have to get the insurance companies out of the way.”

When the Tracy Law Firm initially filed the lawsuit against State Farm this summer, the complaint called State Farm “a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde creature that turns into the ‘neighbor from hell,’” playing on the insurer’s advertising campaign.

In a previous interview, Andy Counts of the Tracy Law Firm told BodyShop Business that the lawsuit inspired a number of collision repairers to contact the law firm with their own accounts of State Farm’s business practices.

“We’ve received calls from various other body shops or people who used to be affiliated with body shops trying to give us information about what State Farm has done to them, what State Farm has done in other states,” he told BodyShop Business.

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“Whether that would be relevant or admissible in our case against State Farm, I don’t know. But apparently there are a lot of people in the body shop industry who have negative things to say about State Farm or who have had negative experiences with State Farm for these same types of issues.

“So we’ve seen nothing that would dissuade us or make us change our opinion of our case against State Farm. In fact, the reverse is true.”

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