Volume 14, Issue 5 - September/October 2012

AGR Reports
breaking news

NHTSA Publishes Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking for Automotive Glazing

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published a notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to automotive glazing materials in the Federal Register. The notice stemmed from NHTSA’s effort to “harmonize vehicle safety standards under the Economic Commission for Europe 1998 Agreement.”

A vote was taken at that time to establish a global technical regulation (GTR) for automotive glazing, which has prompted this notice.

“We believe that most of the changes in this proposal would constitute minor amendments that would harmonize differing measurements and performance requirements for similar test procedures,” reads the notice.

Some of the significant changes include an updated fragmentation test for tempering of curved glass and a new procedure for testing an optical property of the windshield at the angle of installation, to better reflect real world driving conditions. Some testing was proposed for deletion as well.

“We propose deleting the dart impact test and the shot bag test from FMVSS No. 205. It appears the tests have become obsolete,” reads the notice. The notice does specify that glass produced for aftermarket glazing will need to follow the same rules as the original equipment glass.

“Glazing intended for aftermarket replacement is required to meet the requirements of this standard of the requirements of 49 CFR 571.205(a) applicable to the glazing being replaced,” the notice specifies.

Glass America, Guardian Battle over Non-Compete
A lawsuit has been filed in the Eastern Division District Court of Virginia by a former Guardian Auto Glass employee who signed a non-competition agreement with the company before accepting employment with Glass America.

Robert Staples signed an “Invention, Disclosure, Confidentiality and Non-Competition Agreement” with Guardian Auto Glass in November 2010. According to Staples’ petition for declaratory judgment, he “left Guardian Glass because he became increasingly uncomfortable with certain practices of the respondent which he believed to be unethical and possibly unlawful.”

Staples later accepted employment at a Glass America location in Fairfax, Va., which is within a 100-mile radius of the Guardian location where he was employed. Staples and Glass America received a letter from Guardian’s attorney requesting “enforcement of the provisions of the non-competition agreement.”

Staples says that the agreement prohibited him from employment in any capacity with a competitor, even in a position such as a cleaner or janitor. He claims that there is no effort to determine whether the prohibited activity is the same type of work as that done for the former employer.

Glass America filed a similar petition in Virginia, backing Staples’ claims.

Lafayette Glass Hit By Embezzlement
Christina Denny, 44, a former employee of Lafayette, Ind.-based Lafayette Glass Co., turned herself in to Tippecanoe County Jail in June on an arrest warrant charging her with ten felony counts related to embezzlement, according to police records. Denny is alleged to have stolen more than $100,000 from the glass shop.

Lafayette Glass Co. president Dennis Clark says it is hard to believe Denny, who had worked for his company for 19 years, allegedly stole from the family-owned business for an estimated 11 years. “We treated her like a daughter [but] we began having some suspicions in 2009,” Clark says. “That’s when we confronted her and she admitted to what she was doing.”

According to Clark, Denny was caught taking cash from the company safe. At the time she was a “trusted employee” who had the right to sign company checks.

Denny was charged based on incidents occurring between 2007 and 2009, but Clark says the issue began in 2001—placing the total at around $100,000 or more.

Clark says he would encourage other companies to be highly cautious of whom they allow to sign checks.

“We’re a small family-owned corporation and we didn’t expect this to happen to us,” he says. “Even though you trust people, there are always situations that go on like this and they happen often. You need to keep close tabs on who you have in control of what.”

Coccaro v. Progressive 2013 Trial Date is Set
Greg Coccaro and his body shop, North State Custom, will be in court January 28, 2013, after eight years of uncertainty in his case against Progressive Insurance (see September/October 2008 AGRR, page 32). The suit, filed by Coccaro, claims that Progressive steered customers away from the shop, and though the specific steering charge was removed from the case, several causes of action remain that involve steering allegations: tortious interference; engaging in deceptive business practices; and spreading injurious falsehoods about his business.

“When this started I swore I would see this to the end no matter what it took,” Coccaro says.

The Westchester Civil Supreme Court of New York previously dismissed a case filed by Progressive Insurance against Coccaro and his company alleging insurance fraud. In the case, Progressive claimed that the shop had committed insurance fraud via its charges for a vehicle of one of its insureds—alleging that the shop inflated the charges to make the car a total loss, and that both the shop and the insured received payment for the vehicle’s repairs, Coccaro says.

Tem-Pace Acquires Atwood Spec-Temp
Niles, Mich.-based Tem-Pace LLC has completed its acquisition of Atwood Spec-Temp Glass in Antwerp, Ohio, from Atwood Mobile Products LLC. Production will remain active in both locations, according to a company announcement.

“[This] acquisition makes years of anticipation a reality as two long-time veterans of the fabricated glass tempering industry join forces,” write officials from Tem-Pace in their announcement of the sale. “The two companies look forward to collaborating to enhance quality, delivery, and to better meet the high expectations of their customers.”

Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Tem-Pace manufactures custom tempered glass, serving the RV, truck cap, door and window, furniture, retail display and lighting markets, while Spec-Temp specializes in cutting, drilling, seaming, silkscreening and tempering glass for high-precision configurations of flat, bent and insulating glass applications for the transportation, food service, residential, commercial and marine markets.

The acquisition is expected to add a variety of capabilities to Tem-Pace’s offerings. “They had some size capabilities that we do not have and they gave us some opportunities to reach out into some things we don’t have, and it helps us to fulfill more of our present customers’ needs,” says Kent Mawer, sales and marketing manager for Tem-Pace.

Mawer says there will be very few employee changes.

“Spec-Temp will be an LLC, basically a subdivision of Tem-Pace. Will that change? We don’t know that. It could be merged into one name but we don’t know that,” Mawer says. “We’re keeping the different identity factors, but all to the benefit of the customers. Whenever we do anything they are our primary concern.”

The transition is expected to take place over the never several months.

Officials from Atwood Mobile Products were not available for comment.

Guardian Auto Glass to Open Facility in Milwaukee
Plans are underway for the expansion of Guardian Auto Glass into Milwaukee, with a new facility. Dale Barbeau, a master technician with 18 years in the industry, and Doug Stittleburg, a former insurance agent and member of the auto glass industry for 14 years, will be owners and managing partners at the new location.

“We are excited to begin operations in Wisconsin with a great team headed by Dale and Doug,” says Jerry Ray, vice president and managing partner of Guardian Auto Glass.

ABRA Auto Body and Glass Opens New Locations
A new ABRA Auto Body and Glass location has opened in Kokomo, Ind., the first location in that state. The repair center is the company’s 124th center nationwide, covering 13 states. The company also opened a new shop location at Asheville Ford in West Central North Carolina, approximately 50 miles from the Tennessee border.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the progression of our national growth plan,” says Duane Rouse, president and CEO of ABRA Auto Body and Glass.

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