Posted by Richard Campfield on December 17, 2015
ULTRA BOND FILES MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION TO SAFELITE'S MOTION TO DISMISS
Ultra Bond states: This is a straightforward case. Defendant Safelite Group, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries make up the largest retail operations in the country for vehicle glass repair and replacement (“VGRR”) services for windshield damage claims. Safelite is also the nation’s largest third party administrator (“TPA”) for processing and adjusting policyholders’ vehicle glass damage claims.In the course of its business, Safelite falsely advertises, promotes, and otherwise misleads consumers into believing that, without exception, if their windshield has a crack longer than six inches, it cannot be repaired. Instead, Safelite falsely tells consumers that their windshield must be replaced. Not surprisingly, windshield replacements are vastly more profitable to Safelite than windshield repair.
Contrary to Safelite’s statements in its advertisements or promotions, windshield cracks longer than six inches are, in fact, repairable (but far less profitable for Safelite). Indeed, the repair of cracksup to 14 inches is the VGRR industry standard. Specifically, in June 2007 and updated in February 2014,the American National Standards Institute approved windshield repair standards, developed by the National Glass Association and the National Windshield Repair Association, the “Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standards” (“ROLAGS” or “ROLAG Standards”) expressly determined that cracks longer than six inches --known in the VGRR industry as “Long Cracks” -- and up 14 inchescan be repaired. Safelite knows that Long Cracks up to 14 inches are repairable because its representatives sat on the committee that developed and approved the ROLAGS but knowingly ignores the ROLAGS to improve its bottom line.
Safelite does notdispute that its statements are false and misleading. Faced with indisputable facts demonstrating the knowing and literal falsity of their statements, Safelite attempts to distract the Court by attacking strawman claims that Plaintiffs do not assert, mischaracterizing or ignoring core facts pertinent to the claims asserted here, and even arguing the wrong legal standard for analyzing Lanham Act claims. Contrary to Defendants’ argument, this case is not an antitrust case nor does it mirror Plaintiffs’previous case decided by the Tenth Circuit in 2008. Among other things, the ROLAGS -- which are central to the allegations here -- did not exist at the time of that case. The ROLAGSshow that Defendants’ statements that windshield cracks longer than six inches cannot be repaired and are unsafe are false. Tellingly, Defendants do not even mention the ROLAGS in their brief.
Nor do Plaintiffs claim to represent the interests of consumers who have been damaged by Safelite’s misrepresentations -- though such evidence is relevant to the egregious nature of Defendants’ misconduct. And, Plaintiffs do not allege that Safelite must expressly promote UB’s products and services. Plaintiffs simply allege that Safelite must stop falsely representing in its commercial advertisements and promotions that:(1) a windshield must be replaced when a crack is longer than six inches;(2) that it is “unsafe” to repair a crack longer than six inches; and, (3) that Safelite’s windshield replacements are as safe and reliable as factory-installed windshields.These false statements are archetypicalLanham Act violations. Defendants’ motion to dismiss should be denied.