Conference set in Peach v. CIM

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 20, 2004, 7:39am

Attorneys for a Granite City woman who filed a class action suit against CIM Insurance Corp. will be in court Oct. 27 for a case management conference.

Armettia Peach, whose family is no stranger to the Madison County Court system, filed a class action complaint against the insurance company in September 2002 alleging CIM’s sale of extended protection plans for autos was in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. The six count suit seeks up to $75,000 per count, per class member.

Ashley Peach, Armettia Peach's daughter, is a plaintiff in three pending class action suits filed in Madison County against Wal-Mart, KMart and Fashion Bug. In those consumer fraud suits, Ashley Peach alleges the retailers failed to issue cash back on a remaining gift card balance. In each instance, the amount was less than $2.

In the complaint against CIM, Peaches alleges the insurance company misrepresented that it would receive the full amount paid for an “Extended Protection Plan,” when in fact Enterprise Car Sales in Glen Carbon, where she purchased a vehicle, kept some of the money. Enterprise, acted as an agent for CIM.

She claims that the EPP contract was "inherently deceptive" because it falsley leads consumers to belive EPPs are "pass through" charges paid to CIM.

"Listing the cost of the EPP in conjunction with other non-negotiable items (such as licenses and taxes) suggests that charges for EPPs are similar in nature and thus non-negotiable pass through charges," the complaint states.

After the suit was initially filed, CIM countered by filing a motion to compel arbitration. Represented by Reed Armstrong of Edwardsville, CIM argued there was an arbitration provision in the contract between Peach and Enterprise.

CIM's attorney, pointing to Peach’s allegation in her complaint that Enterprise was an agent of CIM in perpetrating the alleged fraud, stated CIM should be entitled to enforce the arbitration provision even though CIM was not a signatory to the contract.

Peach, represented by The Lakin Law Firm of Wood River, opposed the motion.

Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron denied the motion ruling that the arbitration provision is a part of a fraudulent scheme, and that the arbitration provision is unconscionable because it precludes class action relief.

In a decision written by Justice James Donovan of the Fifth District Appellate Court, he agreed with Byron affirming his decision.

Judge Byron will hear the case management conference in his courtroom at 9 a.m.

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Reed, Armstrong, Mudge & Morrissey
115 N Buchanan St
Edwardsville, IL 62025-1771

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