New York judge extends Progressive's deadline in Coccaro case

Jan. 1, 2020
A New York Supreme Court judge has extended a deadline for Progressive Insurance to turn over about 800 claims files to the court in the ongoing North State Custom Auto vs. Progressive case.

A New York Supreme Court judge has extended a deadline for Progressive Insurance to turn over about 800 claims files to the court in the ongoing North State Custom Auto vs. Progressive case.

In a ruling on April 23, New York Supreme Court Justice Gerald E. Loehr instructed Progressive to comply with his court order or he would rule in favor of plaintiff Greg Coccaro, owner of North State. Loehr set a new deadline for Progressive of May 28.

The 800 claims files from five Progressive direct repair program shops were originally requested by the court in 2008 and once again on Feb. 23, 2009. Progressive has offered a variety of reasons for not producing the files.

Coccaro said he believes that those documents, which include estimates, notes, photos and quality inspection reports, would prove his case that Progressive steered its insureds away from his shop and into the insurance company’s DRP shops.

“Progressive does not want to bring those documents forward,” Coccaro says. “This has gone on for eight or nine months and they have given every excuse under the sun. First they said they couldn’t do it, then they said it was too expensive to do.”

He said Progressive may be delaying the case simply because the insurer has more financial resources than Coccaro, who estimates he spent about $400,000 defending himself in a fraud case brought by Progressive against him. He was exonerated of those charges and the case was dismissed.

In the April 23 proceedings, an attorney for Progressive said it would cost about $35,000 to produce the materials that the judge ordered them to produce, and that the plaintiff (Coccaro) should have to pay for that.

The judge ordered Progressive to produce the documents at their own expense. He also chided Progressive by saying, “It is clear to me that there has been an intent and an effort to frustrate orderly discovery in this case.”

Coccaro filed a $40-million lawsuit against Progressive in 2007 because of damage done to his business through the company's alleged steering and deceptive trade practices. Five of the original eight causes of action were dismissed, but the remaining three claims (totaling $15 million) are moving forward. The three remaining claims are for tortuous interference, deceptive business practices and injurious falsehoods.

Progressive first filed suit against North State Custom Auto in 2005, claiming that Coccaro had attempted to defraud the insurer on repairs conducted on a six-month-old 2004 Mercedes E320. That case was dismissed on Aug. 5, 2008. Click on Court dismisses fraud charges against repairer to read that article.

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