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Livgard & Lloyd client prevails in federal court of appeals

On Friday, June 17, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in a published opinion, ruled in favor of our client, Alpine Glass, Inc., a Minnesota auto glass replacement company, in an appeal brought by Farmers Insurance over an arbitration award issued in favor of Alpine.  An arbitrator found that Farmers had breached its insurance policy in short paying Alpine’s glass replacement invoices and awarded Alpine more than $400,000.  The award was originally appealed to United States District Judge Patrick Schiltz who rejected Farmers’ complaints about the award and refused to set it aside.  Farmers then took an appeal to the Eighth Circuit.

The unanimous panel of judges affirmed Judge Schiltz’s order upholding the arbitration award.  It also affirmed Judge Schiltz’s decision that Farmers and Safelite sending out of pricing letters and confirmation faxes does not create a scenario where the glass shop is bound to the insurer’s prices when the shop performs replacement work.  The Eighth Circuit, like the Connecticut Supreme Court in an unrelated case in 2009 and Judge Schiltz earlier in this case, concluded that the insurer’s faxes do not present an offer for what is typically called a “unilateral contract.”  Insurers have recently tried using the unilateral contract defense in responding to short pay actions.  These most recent decisions should put an end to that effort.

Click here to read the Eighth Circuit’s opinion.


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