Artie’s Auto Body, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co.

Acting as a co-lead counsel, the firm represents Artie’s Auto Body, Inc., A&R Body Specialty, and Skrip’s Auto Body, which are licensed auto body repair shops in the state of Connecticut.  The Firm also represents the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (“ABAC”), a not-for-profit association of automobile repair shops in the state of Connecticut, which is dedicated to the advancement of the collision repair industry.  On November 17, 2009, following a four-week jury trial, Bernstein Liebhard LLP won a verdict of $14.7 million for our clients and the class we represent in Artie’s Auto Body, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co., No. X08-CV-03-0196141S (CLD) (Conn. Super. Ct.).

The action was commenced in 2003 on behalf of approximately 550 licensed auto body repair shops in the state of Connecticut to recover for the harm caused by The Hartford’s illegal practice of artificially suppressing labor rates for auto body repair work well below market rates, and illegally steering its insureds to a closed network of preferred auto body repair shops whose activities are tightly controlled by The Hartford, in direct violation of Connecticut law.  Plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages under Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, restitution by reason of unjust enrichment, and injunctive relief to reform these illegal practices.

On June 5, 2013, the Firm successfully obtained a permanent injunction and the largest punitive damage award ($20 million) in the history of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.  The $20 million award stems from the four-week jury trial in which the Firm won a verdict of $14.7 million.  Regrettably, the verdict was recently overturned on appeal by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

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