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March/April 2003

    breaking news

Diamond Triumph, Safelite, Await Trial Date

As AGRR approached its press day, Columbus, Ohio-based Safelite Glass Corp. 
and Kingston, Pa.-based Diamond Triumph worked to complete their expert witness reports to meet the March 7 deadline in the anti-steering case evolving between the two companies. In recent months, Safelite filed a countersuit against Diamond Triumph, a suit which Diamond Triumph soon answered with court documents, standing by its original claims (see January/February 2003 AGRR, page 18).

Dates to Remember

Approaching deadlines and key dates in the Diamond Triumph/Safelite anti-steering case include:

June 6, 2003: discovery deadline;

July 1, 2003: depositive motions deadline; 

August 5, 2003: deadline for completion of alternative dispute resolution, in which parties agree to submit to mediation with a private mediator to agreed upon by the parties;

August 2003: suggested date for the pretrial conference; and

September 8, 2003: approximate trial date (about 520 days from the filing of the action).

Diamond Triumph writes that it “denies each and every claim in Safelite’s counterclaim …” in the court documents filed on December 6, 2002. In the affirmative defense section of the document, Diamond Triumph writes that:

1) Safelite has failed to mitigate its damages, if any;

2) Safelite’s complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted;

3) Safelite is estopped by its own actions from asserting the claims in the counterclaim;

4) Damages sustained by Safelite to its reputation, if any, were caused by Safelite’s own actions;

5) Injunctive relief is not available in this action because Safelite comes to this court with unclean hands; and

6) Safelite’s action must be dismissed because the alleged defamatory statements are, in fact, true.
Finally, Diamond Triumph requests that the court dismiss Safelite’s counterclaim with prejudice, grant Diamond Triumph all relief sought in its amended complaint and grant Diamond Triumph other just relief.

Diamond Triumph, whose headquarters are shown here, answered Safelite’s countersuit on December 6.
Safelite company spokesperson Dee Uttermohlen said the company had no new statement to make since its original press statement in which it defended its practices (see May/June 2001, page 14).

“At this point in time, there is nothing to report in regards to either of the pending legal actions involving Diamond Triumph and Safelite Auto Glass,” Uttermohlen said. “Both cases are currently in the discovery phase of the legal process. We have been given no indication of a possible trial date at this time.”

Diamond Triumph officials declined comment.

Auto Glass Specialists Implements AGRSS
  Auto Glass Specialists of Madison, Wis., recently announced that it is one of the first automotive replacement glass companies to implement the newly published ANSI/AGRSS 00-2002 Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS). The company’s president and chief executive officer, Robert Birkhauser, who also serves as AGRSS Council vice chairperson, said he is proud his company has taken this challenge.

“Auto Glass Specialists has been an innovator and leader in raising the norms in the auto glass replacement industry,” Birkhauser said. “The company was founded on quality service and has since continually challenged the industry to implement quality standards.”

At press time, nearly 100 shops had applied for AGRSS credentialing and nearly 40 had been accredited in the first month.

Man Pleads “Not Guilty” in Murder Case
The man accused of robbing and killing former Empire Glass owner Rick Chance pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder on January 6. Robert Donald Lemke II is accused of killing Chance, who was allegedly murdered on August 9, in a hotel room in Tempe, Ariz. Lemke was returned to Arizona last week from Tacoma, Wash., where he had been incarcerated on unrelated charges. 
Lemke’s former girlfriend Brandi Hungerford, whom Chance was allegedly meeting at the hotel, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against Lemke in the case.

At press time, the initial pretrial conference was slated for February 12 before Judge Barry Schneider in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Cracked Windshield Leads to Drug Bust
A cracked windshield recently led to a drug bust in Stafford, Va. According to an article in the January 3 Fredericksburg, Va., Free Lance-Star, state trooper Freddie Childs stopped a Cadillac on Interstate 95 when he noticed the car’s windshield was cracked and its windows were tinted illegally. When he approached the driver, Michael Clayton Puryear, 20, he sensed a “strong odor of marijuana.”

The trooper searched the Cadillac and found 33 grams of alleged crack cocaine with a street value of more than $3,000 hidden in the center consol and a small amount of suspected marijuana. Puryear was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and with possession of 

Mainstreet Teams Up with GLAXIS
Mainstreet Computers of Belleville, Mich., has teamed up with Pittsburgh-based GLAXIS, a division of PPG Industries, to provide customers direct electronic connections to LYNX Services and some auto glass distributors. Mainstreet has announced it plans to modify its point-of-sale (POS) software to integrate with GLAXIS and receive LYNX Services work assignments electronically.

“The GLAXIS connection will automate the work-order process, reducing the dispatch phone call length while eliminating data entry and EDI invoicing errors,” said David Carnahan, Mainstreet president. “This makes Mainstreet software even more user-friendly and valuable to our customers.”

Customers will now be able to process LYNX part authorizations directly from their software, eliminating time-consuming phone calls. Collectively, the LYNX integration with Mainstreet POS can help eliminate hundreds of hours a year of work for the average glass shop, according to Paul Recrosio, GLAXIS sales manager.

“In addition to eliminating phone calls, by connecting glass shops to LYNX Services electronically, GLAXIS has reduced EDI rejections by 50 percent, improving cash flow for glass shops,” Recrosio said.

Eventually, the GLAXIS partnership will allow Mainstreet customers to check the availability of and order parts with distributors, according to the companies.

AGRR Magazine to Provide Daily News Updates
AGRR readers can now receive daily news updates by signing up for the daily update news service glassbytes news service at or is fast and easy, and the latest news updates from AGRR will come straight to your  in-box each day.

Coach Glass Opens Fourth Warehouse
Coach Glass of Eugene, Ore., has announced the opening of its fourth warehouse in Phoenix. According to the company, the warehouse carries a full line of RV and bus windshields. The opening brings the entire Coach inventory to more than 60,000 windshields for motor homes and buses of all makes—including current and obsolete models—and a full line of gaskets and mouldings.

“Our Florida and Indiana warehouses are running at top speed now,” said Todd Lowary, sales and service manager. “Opening in Phoenix spreads the workload and allows us to serve our Southwest customers even faster. We can ship to nearly every corner of the United States in two days or less.”

Xinyi Builds New Plants; Partners with Southwall
China-based Xinyi Auto Glass Co. Ltd. completed the building of a new tempering plant in China in October 2002. According to the company, the plant, the largest one now existing in China, occupies an area of 560,000 square feet. Utilizing Finland-based Tamglass’s HTBS and CTBS, the plant is designed primarily for the manufacture of automotive backlites, sidelites and curved architectural tempered glass. The company says it distributes approximately 1,800 NAGS tempered part numbers annually in the United States.

In addition, Xinyi has built a new windshield factory in Hong Kong. The new factory is located in Yuen Long Industrial Estate and occupies an area of 160,000 square feet. At this plant, the company installed new Tamglass ESU EcoMax units with a production capacity of 800,000 windshields per year. 

In other news at the company, Xinyi recently signed a four-year agreement with Palo Alto, Calif.-based Southwall Technologies Inc. on the application of XIR® films. The agreement grants Xinyi Glass the exclusive rights to manufacture solar reflective windshields in China and Hong Kong using XIR® films.

Northstar Adds Distributors
Northstar Automotive Glass of Kansas City, Mo., has announced five new wholesale distributor locations: Auto Glass Distributors in St. Louis, Discount Glass of Newark, Del., Accuray Auto Glass of New Orleans, Mississippi Auto Glass Distributors of Meridian, Miss., and Discount Auto Glass of Birmingham, Ala.

Belron Taking Steps Toward Re-entry into the United States Market
Worldwide auto glass replacement behemoth Belron is taking steps toward re-entry into the United States AGR business. Belron, a former owner of Safelite Auto Glass, currently owns auto glass replacements companies in many countries throughout the world. 

According to well-placed sources who prefer to remain anonymous, Belron has had discussions with at least four U.S. companies about possibly acquisitions. Harmon Auto Glass, which is owned by Apogee Enterprises, and one mid-size auto glass replacement company based in the Midwest, are among those who have had such discussions. In one case, the deal was believed to be close to complete when Belron decided to back away.

“They are mindful of what happened with the Globe acquisition,” said the source, “and are still struggling with what form to take here.”

Rising Barrier Smashes Windshield, Kills Driver
Mark Norder, whose wife was killed and her entire windshield damaged when a 3-foot-high retractable barrier rose when she was driving over it, is suing MacDill Air Force Base for $15 million. According to a report from the Associated Press, emergency crews found Donna Jo Norder’s vehicle with its windshield smashed and the front of the car atop the barrier at the Air Force base, which was about halfway up. The driver suffered a fractured skull in the Feb. 18, 2000, accident.

The barrier is designed to retract into the ground when an electronic security card is used, and a green light flashes, allowing motorist to proceed. Likewise, the barrier is used to control traffic at other times. The barrier’s control panel has been modified since the accident.

Sika and REHAU Announce Alliance
Madison, Wis.-based Sika Corp. and REHAU of Leesburg, Va., have announced that they have formed a “strategic alliance to provide customers with innovative and easy-to-use solutions for auto glass replacement.” The companies’ first collaboration is the new UniFit™ Pinch-N-Go™ universal moulding and adhesive system, which they also introduced at the show.

The new universal moulding package includes Sika adhesives and REHAU universal fit mouldings, available in five sizes. The moulding is equipped with barbs for high retention on the glass and a variety of other attributes.

Mitchell Begins Collision Repair Network
Mitchell International, which is based in San Diego, began taking shop registrations for its collision repair network at the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE), December 6-8 in Dallas. The network is based on an “open-repair program” model, which, unlike many pre-existing direct repair programs, enable any shop to apply for inclusion, according to Mitchell. However, director of business development Vivek Vasudeva says that for now, it will remain in the collision arena and will not enter the glass repair and replacement industry any time soon in this fashion. 




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