Goldenberg firm files class action over vehicle service contracts

Kelly Holleran Aug. 5, 2010, 7:12am


An Illinois man has filed a putative class action lawsuit against companies that sell vehicle service contracts, alleging they refuse to refund their customers if the customers cancel their policies early.

Dean R. Ochotnicki claims he purchased a vehicle service contract from defendant Butler Financial Solutions for $2,375 on April 18, 2007. The contract covered Ochotnicki's 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for five years or 125,000 miles, according to the complaint filed July 22 in Madison County Circuit Court.

On Nov. 23, after owning the policy for a little more than two years, Ochotnicki canceled the contract, the suit states.

Because he canceled the contract earlier than its expiration date, Ochotnicki claims he should receive a refund of $1,097.12 from the defendants. However, they refuse to pay him, the complaint says.

By denying refunds, the defendants are violating the Illinois Service Contract Act, which mandates that service contract insurance companies must reimburse holders their unearned premium, the suit states.

Ochotnicki says other Illinois residents may have been affected by the defendants' refusal to reimburse early cancellations and wants the court to certify his case as a class action.

He says the defendants, which include Warrantech Corporation, Warrantech Automotive, Butler, Vemeco and Capital Assurance Risk Retention Group, violated Illinois statutes, breached contracts and were unjustly enriched by failing to refund their customers.

In his complaint, Ochotnicki is seeking compensatory damages of no more than $74,999 per class member and injunctive relief requiring the defendants to comply with refund procedures found in the Illinois Service Contract Act. In addition, he wants the court to award pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Ochotnicki and the putative class will be represented by Mark C. Goldenberg, Thomas P. Rosenfeld and Ryan J. Mahoney of Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli and Rowland in Edwardsville and by Matthew C. Casey of Casey and DeVoti in St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-774.

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