A Connecticut judge has ordered The Hartford insurance company to pay $20 million to auto body shops for an unfair trade practice related to hourly labor rates for vehicle repairs.
The decision last week by Stamford Superior Court Judge Alfred J. Jennings Jr. for punitive damages is in addition to a jury award of nearly $15 million reached against the company in 2009.
The Auto Body Association of Connecticut alleged The Hartford pressured its in-house appraisers to put artificially low labor rates in their appraisals. The jury found the company’s practices regarding hourly rates paid for auto body repairs was an unfair trade practice.
A spokesman says the company is disappointed and will appeal.
The case involves about 1,500 shops in Connecticut.
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