The insurance company covering the ministry of televangelist Joyce Meyer is refusing to pay for legal bills connected to a wrongful death lawsuit and has sued to have its denial of payment recognized.
Essex Insurance Co. asked a judge last Monday to enforce its denial of payment after the family of victims killed by one of Meyer's former bodyguards sued to hold the preacher, the ministry, and her son liable in the deaths.
The lawsuit was dropped in March, but a lawyer for the family re-filed the wrongful death lawsuit in May. The plaintiffs are seeking damages from Meyer, her ministry, and her son, Dan, an executive with Joyce Meyer Ministry.
Essex Insurance Co. insists in its motion that it is not required to defend the lawsuit because the terms of Joyce Meyer Ministry's $2-million policy regarding battery and bodily injury do not apply in this case.
The Joyce Meyer Ministry has been involved in legal wranglings in connection with the murder case since 2009 and Essex Insurance Co. has been covering the costs, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.
Mike King, an attorney for Meyer's Fenton, Mo., ministry, told the publication that Essex Insurance Co.'s claim in court did not come as a surprise.
"Any time you have intentional acts, you have some coverage issues," he said.
Christopher Coleman, Meyer's former security chief and personal bodyguard, was convicted in May for killing his wife, Sheri Coleman, and their two sons in their Columbia, Ill., home in 2009.
The murders were allegedly motivated by Coleman's desire to carry on an affair with another woman without having to lose his job with Meyer for immoral reasons.
As Meyer's bodyguard, Coleman had a cellphone and worked on a computer provided by the televangelist's ministry. The convicted murderer used his cellphone and computer to send violent threats to his wife starting in 2008.
The deceased woman's family claims in the lawsuit that Meyers should have known about the threats and had a responsibility to inform the dead woman.
Meyer and her son testified in Coleman's trial by video depositions.
Coleman is serving life in prison without parole for the murders.