A judge has ruled in a fee dispute that State Farm has to pay Gunder’s Auto Center’s legal fees of $76,157 relative to one of two initial lawsuits owner Ray Gunder levied against the nation’s largest auto insurer for short pays on behalf of two of his customers.
Gunder and his attorney, Brent Geohagan, have reached a tentative out-of-court agreement in the other case for the insurer to pay legal fees in the amount of $7,250 plus accrued interest, which brings the total amount to be paid by State Farm to an estimated $83,400 in these two cases. Efforts were initially made by the insurer to condition a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for payment, but Gunder refused and the court’s award was not contingent upon same.
“The extensive fees were incurred due to the substantial time our attorney invested to research and combat State Farm’s initial efforts to defend against the short-pay lawsuits and their efforts to discourage and stop me,” said Gunder. "We didn’t do it alone, besides having a great legal counsel; we had the ongoing financial and moral support of many repairers and friends across the country. We’ve hung in there because we knew we were right and we wanted to blaze a trail up that mountain so other repairers wouldn’t have to make the significant investment we did.
"The path is now clear and easy to navigate. The heavy lifting is done, many other repairers are now following our lead and even more are looking into doing the same. I’m very proud of climbing that mountain, and the view from where we sit is awesome. We’re currently receiving full payment for our labor rates, procedures and materials from nearly 50 insurers, and we’ll be adding more to that list in the weeks and months ahead. We have more lawsuits against State Farm in the courts currently, including one against an appraiser individually, and we’ll continue to share our journey with the industry as we continue ‘pounding the rock.’"