Kelly Holleran Aug. 4, 2014, 3:55pm

The owner of a gas station claims the man leasing his property has committed libel against him by wrongly accusing him of insurance fraud.

Mohammad Swati and Swati Enterprises Inc. filed a lawsuit July 23 in the Jefferson County District Court against Humayn K. Burki.

In his complaint, Swati claims Burki began publishing statements in December 2012, accusing Swati of committing insurance fraud and habitual fraud. Burki also charged Swati with being a habitual liar, according to the complaint. Burki published statements saying Swati had physically threatened him and cheated him out of $179,000, the suit states.

Swati contends none of the allegations are true and they constitute libel because they injure his reputation.

In his complaint, Swati tells his own side of the story. He says Burki was leasing a convenience store and gas station from him when Hurricane Rita struck in 2005. The hurricane damaged the convenience store, according to the complaint. However, Swati did not have hurricane and windstorm insurance coverage on the store, the suit states.

Swati was able to recover some money, which was split among 43 gas stations, the complaint says.

Since the insurance claims were settled by a lump sum payment from the insurance company, based on the advice from legal counsel and taking into consideration damages sustained by each individual property, funds were allotted on a pro-rata basis and as evenly as possible, the suit states.

Swati issued a check to Burki, but he refused to accept it, the complaint says.

Due to Burki’s libelous statements, Swati claims he endured shame, embarrassment, humiliation, mental pain and anguish.

He seeks actual and exemplary damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

He is being represented by attorney Carl A. Parker of The Parker Law Firm in Port Arthur.

Jefferson County District Court case number E195-905

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Jefferson County District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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