May 2013




May 2013: In this issue ...

Federal Court Dismisses TXCAT's Business Disparagement Lawsuit Against Phoenix Group Metals

On March 28, 2013, the Honorable District Judge Gray H. Miller of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas dismissed with prejudice the business disparagement lawsuit of Flores v. Phoenix Group Metals, LLC, the parent company of Phoenix Automotive Cores. The dismissal was a resounding victory for Arizona-based Phoenix Group Metals, LLC, a leader in the recycling of automotive parts and scrap metal. This brings to an end the lawsuit filed by Robert Flores dba TX CAT on December 22, 2010.

Flores’ lawsuit claimed that Jay Robie, the Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Group Metals (PGM) and the chairman of the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association, Core Suppliers Advisory Council, sent out e-mails and newsletters to individuals in the recycling industry that TX CAT engaged in a fraudulent scam and peddled a trailer load of low-grade catalytic converters. As a result, TX CAT claimed that it lost business and that its lender withdrew its financial support for building a smelter.

Federal Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson was assigned by Judge Miller to provide recommendations regarding the motion filed by Phoenix Group Metals to terminate TX CAT’s case. After reviewing and considering the filings by both parties, Judge Johnson determined that the affidavit filed by TX CAT’s private lender, Susan Benton, in opposition to Phoenix Group Metal’s dismissal motion contradicted her prior sworn testimony. Ms. Benton’s affidavit was stricken in its entirety as a “sham affidavit.” Magistrate Judge Johnson determined that Benton’s affidavit “lacks credibility, much less persuasiveness.”

In addition, Magistrate Judge Johnson found that the claims stated in TX CAT’s lawsuit were barred because it was filed after the expiration of Texas’s applicable statutes of limitation. Moreover, Magistrate Judge Johnson determined that TX CAT provided no evidence that it sustained any specific damages that were caused by Robie’s e-mails and newsletters and that TX CAT’s claimed damages were “nothing more than speculation” which fell far short of the required “proof of realized or liquidated losses.” The Magistrate’s recommendations were duly adopted by Judge Miller who dismissed TX CAT’s entire lawsuit with prejudice and entered a final judgment in favor of PGM and Robie.
 

Utah Auto Recyclers Applaud State Lawmakers For Passing SB 249

The Utah Automotive Recyclers Association (UARA) strongly praised state lawmakers and Governor Gary Herbert for protecting Utahans through the passage of Senate Bill 249. The legislation, which was signed into law on April 1, institutes important regulations on the buying and selling of salvage vehicles and empowers law enforcement to track illegal activity in the auto salvage industry.

“SB 249 will keep unsafe automobiles out of the hands of unqualified individuals who could hide the vehicles’ true condition from consumers through illegal vehicle rebuilding, VIN cloning and auto theft,” said UARA Executive Director Sandy Blalock. “This legislation is a huge step forward in protecting Utah’s motorists from these illicit practices, which put everyone on our roadways in danger.”

Building upon prior reforms to Utah's salvage vehicle laws, SB 249 establishes thresholds for the number of salvage or non-repairable vehicles that can be transacted by unlicensed in-state purchasers and sellers. In accordance with existing state regulations, the new law specifies that unlicensed sellers may not offer for sale, sell, or exchange more than two vehicles with salvage certificates in any 12-month period to a person not licensed as a salvage vehicle buyer.

The bill also prohibits any person not licensed as a salvage vehicle buyer from bidding on or purchasing more than five non-repairable or salvage vehicles within a year. Additionally, sellers are not permitted to sell or exchange a vehicle with a non-repairable certificate to any person not licensed as a salvage vehicle buyer.

In an effort to further protect Utah consumers, SB 249 also prohibits any criminals convicted of violating laws related to motor vehicle commerce or fraud from purchasing a salvage or non-repairable titled vehicle. SB 249 also mandates that a vehicle with a non-repairable certificate may not be registered in the state and establishes a private cause of action for certain owners who violate the requirement to disclose that a vehicle has a salvage title.

“These provisions offer valuable safeguards against the actions of unlicensed entities that offer dangerous vehicles for sale on the internet and engage in illegal curb stoning operations,” said Blalock.

Information from every salvage vehicle auction will now be entered into the Utah Motor Vehicle Department database, putting vastly more resources at the disposal of law enforcement officials. Operators of motor vehicle auctions are required to electronically apply for a salvage certificate of title, and to provide evidence of compliance with certain provisions.

“We applaud Utah lawmakers for supporting the critical protections contained in SB 249,” said Blalock. “UARA looks forward to continuing to work with state motor vehicle, transportation, and law enforcement officials to ensure successful implementation of this important new law.”

Pacific Auto Salvage Changing Hands

According to the Napa Valley Register, Willie Azevedo is taking over Pacific Auto Salvage, Inc. in American Canyon, Calif. His father, current owner John Azevedo, is looking to retire.

John took over the business from his father-in-law, Bill Rainsbarger. He was the Locator UpFront’s Most Influential Local Hero of 2010 for his volunteer work with the local fire department and community schools. He was also an ARA regional director, which he won the Star Award for in 2010. Willie was previously the company’s vice president.
 

OATRA’s 2013 Annual Meeting Is May 17 - 18

The Ohio Auto & Truck Recyclers Annual Meeting will be held at All Foreign Used Auto Parts, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio.

The event will feature speakers, training, demonstrations, meetings meals, trade show, silent auction and an exhibitor raffle.

Go to www.oatra.net for more information, or call Jim McKinney at 419-747-0127 for more information.
 

IAR Summer Outing Planned For May 31 - June 1

The Iowa Automotive Recyclers (IAR) is planning its 2013 Summer Outing at the Jackson county Fairgrounds in Maquoketa, Iowa.

The outing will include a trade show and auction. The auction will be held during the Friday night barbecue at Nugent Auto Sales, Inc. The funds raised will support the Charitable Chariots, the scholarship program and the IAR PAC fund.

Contact Sue Schauls at schauls3@mchsi.com or visit the IAR website at www.iowaautorecyclers.com.
 

PartsLocator.com Banner Click-Through Rates Better Than Average

It’s been seven months since we’ve launched the newly-designed PartsLocator.com. The redesign included resizing banner ads, which helped to feature our customers more prominently on the page.

The average click-through rates (CTR) for Internet banners is 0.1 - 0.3 percent. For the month of April, 14 Locator customers had CTRs above 2 percent, with some companies reaching above 4 percent. Overall, the banner CTR for our entire site is about 0.7 percent, way above average.

If you’re interested in adding a banner ad to our site, call 800-831-0820 or e-mail sales@partslocator.com.
 

June Deadlines

May 22, 2013: Listings for The Locator Magazine.
May 24, 2013: Display ads for The Locator Magazine.
May 30, 2013: The Locator Magazine goes to press.

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