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July/August  2004

    repair news

Windshield Repair Company Named in Wrongful Death Suit
A windshield repair company that did a repair on a rental car later involved in a rollover accident is one of several defendants named in a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles Central District Court in California. The case, Jeffers versus General Motors, alleges that the General Motors’ Tahoe is the product of faulty workmanship and that GM, Enterprise car rental agency and a windshield repair shop are liable for a death that occurred when a rented Tahoe was involved in a roll-over accident, crushing its occupants, killing one and injuring another.

The estate of Seth Jeffers is suing for exemplary and punitive damages, further alleging that the rented vehicle was negligently, carelessly and recklessly maintained, inspected, serviced and rented. 

The windshield repair company, Windshield Pros of Murrieta, Calif., denies the accusations of negligence. According to court papers, Windshield Pros alleges that there is insufficient evidence to hold it liable; that the statute of limitations holding it responsible has run out, the court venue is improper and that the damages claimed against it are speculative. Court documents also show that the repair company has answered a counter claim made by Enterprise, accusing the rental agency of failing to “exercise the degree of care ordinarily exercised by reasonable and prudent persons.” Further, the windshield repair company denies responsibility for any injuries that resulted from the rollover, stating that the actions—and non-actions—of others caused or contributed to the chain of events that resulted in the injuries and damages claimed in the suit.The repair company believes the accident was an unavoidable and had nothing to do with any repairs made to the windshield. The case is expected to settle.

The owner of the windshield repair company has declined to comment on the advice of his attorney.

IGA Retreats from Attack on Repair
The board of directors of the Independent Glass Association (IGA) has issued a clarification concerning its position on windshield repair.

“Windshield repair is a very active and vital technology used by many of our members in the auto glass business. There has been so much discussion about the IGA’s position on windshield repair that we are clarifying it,” said association president Kurt Muller.

“The board does not intend to pursue any further action or discussion of the efficacy of windshield repair. Our original concerns revolved around consumer safety. Upon our review we have seen no evidence of repair as a safety issue and will not pursue the matter until or unless such safety issues become evident,” said IGA board member Dave Zoldowski. “Unfortunately, this issue became ‘larger than life,’ and a good deal of inaccurate and misinformation was spread. Up to 75% of our members do windshield repair, and we need to acknowledge that we are all working in the same industry battling common problems.”

“Our singular focus is the future of all independent auto glass businesses in this country,” said Muller. “We believe illegal steering will totally destroy the whole industry, both repair and replacement, if it is not stopped.”
Muller said work on a major lawsuit against illegal network steering is in the works. “Steering affects the entire industry—both repair and replacement companies—and it we need to be united in our work to bring this issue into the courts and let a federal judge decide if these practices are fair and legal.”

“I’m glad they’re taking that stand, just wish they would have taken that position when the legislation came up in Connecticut,” said Bob Simoni, owner of Dr. Bob’s Mobile Windshield Repair Service in East Hartford, Conn.
Officials at the NWRA had no comment on the announcement, said Peg Stroka, NWRA administrator.

Connecticut Recommends Drafted License for Limited Repair
The Connecticut Auto Glass Board unanimously voted to recommend the drafted license types for automotive glasswork to the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection.

The draft, as approved by the Board, defines a Limited [Auto Glass] Repair Contractor as one who “may perform work only limited to repair damage of not more than 4 repairs (on one windshield) outside the “acute area,” which is defined as “within the area covered by the sweep of the drivers side wiper originally provided by the manufacturer or in the case of one original wiper provided by the manufacturer the driver side half of the windshield.” As the license stands, no repairs can be made within the acute area.

Regarding the repair, the following stipulations are also included in the recommendation:
• The impact point is not larger than 3/8 inch diameter;
• The individual impact damage (not classified as “Combina-tion Break”) is not larger than 1 inch (or just slightly  larger than a U.S. quarter);
• A crack is 6 inches or less in length;
• A combination break has cracks of less than 6 inches and the entire damage area can be completely covered     by a U.S. dollar; and
• Crack damage is not caused by “stress.”

Also outlined in the recommended draft is the requirement that an applicant for the license complete two years “as a properly licensed journeyperson or equivalent experience and training as determined by the Board.”

A Limited [Auto Glass] Repair Journeyperson is defined in the draft as one who “may perform limited repair work and only while under the direct employ of a properly licensed Contractor for such work.” The requirements to qualify include the completion of 100 hours of on-the-job training and 20 hours of related classroom instruction or the equivalent, as determined by the Board.

The role of a Limited [Auto Glass] Repair Helper is also defined in the recommended license, as one who “may perform limited repair work and only while under the direct employ of a properly licensed Contractor for such work and in the presence of a properly licensed Contractor or journeyperson for such work.”

The Board also considered a draft proposed by the NWRA and, although to not endorsing it, has recommended that the second draft also be forwarded to the Commissioner for review. 


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