Friday, 22 August 2008 17:00

Progressive Insurance vs Greg Coccaro Fraud Case Thrown Out of NY Supreme Court

A widely watched fraud trial pressed by Progressive Insurance against Gregory Coccaro of North State Custom in Bedford Hills, NY, was dismissed by State Supreme Court Judge Mary Smith on August 5.

Significantly, the case was dismissed “with predjudice”—meaning the court barred Progressive from filing another case on the claim ---effectively ending Progressive’s options---and the judge acted before the defense could call a single witness. Regardless, Coccaro estimates his shop has spent well over $400 K in defending the case. He estimates Progressive must have spent twice as much as he did.

Representing the defense were Erica Eversman of Vehicle Information Services and New York attorney Tony Mamo. The attorneys requested a directed verdict from the judge, after Progressive presented its case, which the judge granted. A directed verdict by the judge means that, as a matter of law, no reasonable jury could decide in the plaintiff's favor. Progressive indicated that it would appeal the ruling.

The ruling leaves Cocarro free to pursue his $15 M suit against Progressive

The complaint alleges that Progressive has engaged in a scheme to injure North State and deceive the public by engaging in deceptive business practices--- including telling customers that North State inflates estimates, does shoddy work, and is a problem shop.

Coccaro's suit was reduced from $40M to $15M after Progressive attorneys successfully argued that NY law does not allow an insurance company to be sued for steering.

When Coccaro's suit against Progressive was filed, the New York State Auto Collision Technicians Association (NYSACTA) was quick to support him. At the time, Mike Orso, President of NYSACTA said, "We all know the tricks and games that are being played by a majority of the insurance companies, their appraisers and adjusters. The inside information obtained in this lawsuit only confirms our suspicions..."

"It's not about the money," Coccaro said at the time. "It was never about the money. I just couldn't stand by and watch them destroy my reputation and the business I worked hard to create. If they could do this to me, they could do this to anyone."

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