In March of this year, a name seem to come out of the woodwork in Republican state politics. Clinton Body Shop Owner John Mosley announced that he was going to challenge two term incumbent Republican Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. When rumors started surfacing late last year that Mosley might challenge Chaney, we quipped that it was unclear whether Mosley would challenge as a Republican or Democrat because no one that we could identify in Republican circles had ever heard of Mosley. Mosley did run against Rosemary Aultman for Mayor of Clinton in 2005 as an Independent, but there seems to be no discernible trail on the Republican side of the ledger.
As is pretty standard operating procedure at Y’allPolitics, we did a bit of research on both Google and PACER just to try to ascertain where Mosley was coming from. He’s been extremely outspoken, as a body shop owner, about his antagonism to insurance companies and you can hear that even in the ads for his business.
What was found as a result of those two starting points was a pretty disturbing fact pattern involving Mosley, trial lawyer John Arthur Eaves, Jr., and Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood. To make matters more interesting, there is another body shop owner in Louisiana named Matt Parker running for Insurance Commissioner with some connectivity with Eaves and LA Democratic Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.
In 2012, the Mississippi Collision Repair Association was founded with John Mosley as its Acting President. MSCRA recruited other body shops around the state and there were similar organization in other states trying to unite body shops ostensibly against the insurance industry.
In 2013, MSCRA sued State Farm and was represented by John Arthur Eaves. It originally got filed in Hinds County Chancery Court but has since been removed to federal court and is still active.
About the same time, Mosley sued several insurance companies in a case styled as Mosley vs. Norquist. The nature of the claims were pretty much the same as the MSCRA v. State Farm case, namely that the insurance companies had breached some duty (albeit non-contractual) with these body shops.
After about a year of pretty bitter litigation, Mosley’s claims were shot down as meritless in their entirety via summary judgement.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Mississippi body shop owner John Mosley and attorney John Eaves Jr. recently wrapped up their nine-state tour of the U.S. educating collision repairers on fighting mandated parts procurement programs, with Mosley calling it a success overall.
“Now that so many have had a taste of parts procurement, these shop owners are waking up in large numbers. The momentum is building quickly,” said Mosley. “The last week has been amazing. The shop owners understand, and the cream is rising to the top in every state. Guys like Burl Richards with Burl’s Collision in Texas, Matt and Brandon Parker with Parker Auto Body in Louisiana, Tim Waldren in Nevada and Jeff Butler in Washingtion are at the top of a long list of collision shop owners who have stepped up and took the torch in their areas to show others the way to success.”
Remember Matt Parker from Louisiana? That’s the one running for Insurance Commissioner in that state. Parenthetically, Parker and Mosley have been coordinating their campaigns via social media.
During that same time period, there were three other lawsuits filed. The first was the Indiana Auto Body Assn (a group similar to the MSCRA) vs. State Farm in Indiana where (you guessed it) John Arthur Eaves was at the helm of the litigation. That case got removed to federal court in Florida along with a companion case filed in Mississippi (Capital Body Shop vs. State Farm). Interestingly, in the IABA complaint, there was reference to an April 2013 meeting with MSCRA officials, State Farm and representatives from the MS Department of Insurance (page 18 of the complaint). Again, there appears to be no love lost between Mosley/Eaves and MID.
The other case of note filed around that time was the State of Louisiana via AG Buddy Caldwell suing State Farm. This lawsuit generally mirrors the claims in other litigation that Mosley/Eaves initiated in other jurisdictions.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the courthouse. In preparation for Mosley feeding the Indiana case, AG Jim Hood got involved in a most unlikely way. A company called Property Damage Appraisers in Indiana sued Mosley for what they allege was a scheme to misuse information they solicited from a company that professionally performs estimates in the IABA litigation. The kicker? According to the lawsuit, Mosley asked a supposed PDA to perform an estimate on a car OWNED BY JIM HOOD’S OFFICE under the guise of it being provided as just an informal cost comparison and was specifically not to be used outside that construct. In actuality, PDA alleged that the informal estimate using labor rate inputs that Mosley requested was actually used as ammunition in the IABA lawsuit and promoted as evidence of insurance company malfeasance among body shop owners in Indiana. In fact, Jim Hood was listed as a fact witness in that case. And this of course is against the backdrop of Hood’s now decade-long jihad against State Farm.
Not surprisingly, shortly after Mosley announced his run for Insurance Commissioner, Mosley settled the PDA lawsuit.
All of that background brings again into focus a very coordinated PR effort resulting in a story in 2015 to bolster Mosley and Parker (with Jim Hood and Buddy Caldwell in the background) with John Arthur Eaves on Anderson Cooper on CNN. This happened in February right before Mosley and Parker announced.
Those are the facts, now here’s the opinion.
First, Mosley’s campaign (and Parker’s too for that matter) has the appearance of a revenge job. It’s all too poetic, given Chaney’s 2007 campaign ad targeted against trial lawyers, that Chaney now finds himself being primaried with someone affiliated with the same trial lawyer crew.
It’s alarming that someone with such a close working relationship with John Arthur Eaves, Jr., and Jim Hood would be running for the Republican nomination for dog catcher, much less insurance commissioner. It certainly, in my mind, brings up the question of his Republican bona fides. His open hostility and antagonism to the insurance industry as manifest by a stream of far-flung litigation in half a dozen jurisdictions around the country makes his bid to regulate that same industry all the more disconcerting. And given some seeming coordination between Hood and Mosley in the past, Hood having an ally as MID Commissioner would be a nightmare scenario for Mississippi businesses.
True conservatives worried about overreaching governmental mandates and independent business people who depend on reasonably priced and available insurance for the sustained operation of their business should be most pointedly concerned. Mosley, Eaves and Hood seem to have the courage of their convictions only when it’s at the expense of insurance company’s money. The simple suggestion for Mosley is to simply not accept insurance claims for carriers it can’t work with much like some medical providers have sworn off Medicare/Medicaid and even in some cases medical insurance companies. That’s the truest way to let consumers in the market decide who is right. But Mosley and his affiliated gang of roving trial lawyers seem to be content to try and mandate through the courts that private businesses do things that they think is fair. To even consider that mindset at the helm of regulating the insurance industry in Mississippi (with a Republican moniker to boot) is disturbing to say the least. That’s not to mention the fact that Mosley is an owner of a business that derives a large portion of its income from insurance related proceeds.
Though Mosley commissioned a push poll and has been touting its rather speculative results, no one in the press appears to have the first bit of research on this guy (until now).
From Y’allPolitics, there will be more to come.