Court upholds State Farm judgment over Gunder's Auto Center

Jan. 1, 2020
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court's order granting summary judgment in favor of State Farm Insurance in Gunder's Auto Center's claim against the nation's largest personal auto insurer for slander and tor
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s order granting summary judgment in favor State Farm Insurance in Gunder’s Auto Center’s claim against the nation’s largest personal auto insurer for slander and tortious interference with a business relationship.

Ray Gunder, the founder of the central Florida’s 43 year-old auto collision repair and mechanical auto service center made the following statements:

“After getting the court’s decision, I re-read it and just sat in disbelief just staring at it for hours. Is it really possible in this country for a huge conglomerate like State Farm to attack my small business with what are known to be outrageous lies and be considered legally privileged?

As I understand it, the legal rule is that the so-called “privilege” is forfeited if derogatory and defamatory comments are made with “Express Malice”. To be considered “Express Malice” one would need to reach the level of calling me and/or my family murderers and rapists.

State Farm came after us in 2004 in an attempt to silence my voice by attacking our company’s reputation in our community and their attempt to financially destroy our business by steering customers away with totally untrue and outrageous lies ... and that, according to the court, at least in my case ... is legal!? This ruling is justice?

It’s important to understand that if this ruling stays; every honest and ethical shop owner in the industry is in jeopardy of similar efforts against them if they don’t fall in line and do as they’re told by this megalith insurer and other insurers who may chose to follow suit!

This ruling is scary for “all” of us. Although this is but one ‘leg’ of my legal journey to correct the harmful and predatory practices of some insurers, it’s a very bitter pill to swallow!

 

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Know this; I’ve been knocked down but I’m “not” knocked out. I’m going to continue to “pound that rock” and find the justice that I believe exists in our legal system! While I’m not a poker player, the term “I’m all in” is indeed applicable as I’m too far invested in time and finances to quit now and I’ve never been one to see a wrong and not try to make it right and with the best legal representation one could hope for, we will continue to move on.

What one doesn’t find in this decision is one of the most important parts; State Farm speaking improperly and slandering Gunder’s “once” is privileged in the courts opinion, but speaking lies “over” and “over” again knowing they are lies is indeed “Express Malice”! We will prove that State Farm has continuously committed Slander with Express Malice and have done so regularly with an evil intent. I believe with “right there’s might” and Gunder’s will press on and we will begin by giving serious consideration to submitting a request for a review and appeal with the United State’s Supreme Court.” A copy of the court’s ruling may be found here.

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