Coverage cut in middle of suit with Islamic group
FEB. 20, 2014
LYNCHBURG, VA -- Christian Action Network (CAN), a pro-family advocacy group headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., has filed a legal complaint against State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. over State Farm’s refusal to continue coverage in a lawsuit brought against CAN and others by an Islamic organization.
The complaint against State Farm was filed in the 24th Circuit Court in Bedford County, Va., this week alleging that State Farm “improperly withdrew its defense” of CAN, its president and founder Martin Mawyer, and CAN editor-in-chief Patti A. Pierucci. A group known as The Muslims of America, Inc. named all three as defendants in a $55 million lawsuit filed in February 2013.
The Muslim group’s suit alleges that a book authored by Mawyer and co-authored by Pierucci defamed their organization. The book, “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps in America,” was published in April 2012.
After paying for CAN’s legal bills stemming from this suit for the first four months, State Farm “abruptly and improperly withdrew its defense, abandoning CAN and Mawyer, and many months later, Pierucci, to find replacement counsel in the middle of the ongoing lawsuit,” the complaint states.
State Farm agreed initially to cover CAN, Mawyer and Pierucci, hired a law firm for them, and paid the firm’s legal bills for more than four months into the lawsuit. Then, in June 2013, according to the complaint, “State Farm abruptly revoked its position and asserted that it actually had no contractual obligation to provide any coverage to CAN and Mawyer.”
Seven months later, after leaving defendants and their counsel in the dark about how to proceed, State Farm revoked coverage for Pierucci.
Mawyer said he wants the Circuit Court to force State Farm to re-instate coverage for their legal defense against The Muslims of America, reimburse them for expenses since the coverage was withdrawn, reimburse all legal fees incurred to enforce their rights under the State Farm policy, and any other damages agreed to.
Mawyer added that he paid the State Farm premiums on time every month for nearly 25 years. “State Farm’s behavior has been devastating to our tiny organization,” said Mawyer. “I hate to think that State Farm dropped our coverage because our legal bills were simply too high, or worse yet, because our case has national implications involving a group with a documented history of Islamic terrorism and criminal activity.”
Mawyer’s book, “Twilight in America,” details the history of Muslims of America organization in the United States founded and run by Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani, a Pakistani cleric. The group has compounds throughout the world, including the Caribbean and Canada. The book describes how Gilani established guerilla training camps in rural areas of the United States, which at one time numbered at least 35, according to law enforcement reports. Several of the camps have been shut down over the years after criminal activity was identified at them.