The Madison County Record Aug. 28, 2014, 12:12pm

State Farm Mutual, defending an $7 billion racketeering suit in federal court, objects to the addition of Mississippi resident Mark Covington as a new plaintiff.

State Farm counsel Patrick Cloud filed the objection on Aug. 27, arguing that Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams set a May 28 deadline for any amendments to the pleadings.

Plaintiff lawyers propose to add Covington as a substitute for Carly Morse of Maryland, who withdrew from the suit.

Covington and Morse testified against State Farm at a trial in Williamson County in 1999.

As representatives of a class of policy holders, they testified that State Farm supplied inferior parts for crash repairs.

The trial resulted in a billion dollar judgment against State Farm, but the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment in 2005.

In 2012, Mark Hale of New York State, Todd Shadle of Texas, and Morse filed a racketeering suit against State Farm.

They claimed State Farm fraudulently secured the election of Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier in 2004, in order to reverse the Williamson County judgment.

They seek triple damages and interest.

Prior to the 1999 Williamson County trial, the New York Times interviewed Covington.

The Times reported that when he drove his 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier at night, the beam of the left headlight wobbled across the road.

The paper reported that in daylight, the paint on the hood showed an odd ridge on the left.

“He blames his insurance company,” the report stated.

The article stated that after his wife crashed the car into a pickup truck, a body shop in Laurel, Miss., used generic parts instead of parts from a General Motors factory.

The Times reported that consumer advocate Ralph Nader, four state attorneys general, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners opposed a class action against State Farm.

The paper identified Covington as a client of Don Barrett of Lexington, Miss., who works for the legal team on the current case.

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