amber heard is accusing one of its insurance companies of illegally abandoning it while it appeals a payment order Johnny Depp $10 million for defaming him.
a count of two counterclaim seeking punitive damages, filed Monday in the US District Court in Los Angeles, accuses New York Marine and General Insurance Co. of breaching its contract with Heard by “refusing to fully and adequately defend the Ms. Heard in Depp’s lawsuit,” even for suggesting that he might deny her coverage because she intentionally defamed Depp. He also says that the company evaded its responsibility to Heard by currently refusing to agree to cover any money that Heard “may be legally required to pay in the judgment or settlement of the depth lawsuit.”
“New York Marine sold Ms. Heard an insurance policy promising to defend and indemnify Ms. Heard against, among other things, lawsuits alleging that she defamed others. When Johnny Depp sued Ms. Heard for defamation, he timely notified New York Marine and asked New York Marine to defend her,” the 13-page counterclaim reads. “While New York Marine promised to do so, it failed to provide the full and capable defense to which Ms. Heard was entitled, failed to pay the attorneys’ fees and costs it was required to pay for Ms. Heard’s defense, and acted in other ways that harmed Ms. Heard and her defense.”
He says the company left Heard “to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in defense costs that no insurer paid.” She also offers a provocative indictment, suggesting the New York Marine may have tried to sabotage Heard’s defense after it reserved the right in October 2019 to deny coverage to her because she “behaved intentionally.” Her current lawyers say that created “a conflict of interest with Ms. Heard” and entitled her to a new lawyer at New York Marine’s expense, but the company refused to comply and instead stuck with Cameron/McEvoy. PLLC, based in Fairfax, Virginia, previously folded in November 2020.
“The conduct of the New York Marine is despicable and has been done with knowing disregard for the rights of Ms. Heard, which constitutes oppression, fraud, and/or malice,” according to the counterclaim.
Attorneys for New York Marine at McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth LLP in Fresno, California, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The counterclaim was filed in a 28 page document with Heard’s response to New York Marine’s lawsuit against him. That lawsuit seeks an injunction that the company is not required to pay for Heard’s defense because she did not go to trial with the company’s selected law firm. Both filings reiterate her lawyers’ argument that the litigation is detrimental to her. ongoing appeal of a $10.35 million judgment in Depp’s lawsuit over a December 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post. The opinion piece did not specifically name Depp, but described the abuse that a Virginia jury ultimately determined Depp should be blamed on.
Heard also filed a counterclaim in that case, accusing Depp and his lawyers of defamation. The jury awarded $2 million for defamation by one of Depp’s lawyers, Adam Waldman, over a claim that Heard had lied when describing a fight that ended her marriage to Depp. But the June 1 blanket verdict was hailed as a substantial and decisive victory for Depp, as jurors awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Judge penney sugar of Virginia’s 19th Judicial Circuit reduced Depp’s total to about $10.35 million in accordance with Virginia state law.
The verdict followed a six-week trial that became an internet sensation as millions flocked to the live broadcasts run by the Law & Crime Network. While Heard and Depp appeal, the new, less lurid insurance case is a complicated consolidation of two federal lawsuits involving two companies that insured Heard during the trial. He started Travelers Commercial Insurance Co. in July 2021 suing New York Marine, which is part of ProSight Specialty Group, for allegedly failing to pay the legally mandated half of Heard’s defense costs.
New York Marine then sued Travelers and Heard in July 2022 over the attorney matter, saying that attorneys retained by Heard and funded by Travelers “refused to cooperate with Cameron McEvoy and willfully obstructed and prevented Cameron McEvoy’s active participation in the defense of the insured”. US District Judge George H Wua 2007 George W. Bush Appointed in the Central District of California, he consolidated the pretrial cases at the request of Traveler’s attorneys, who called New York Marine’s claims “provocative” and his theory “aggressive.”
The 13-page response from Heard’s attorneys at Pasich LLP in Los Angeles is a required part of the litigation, filed Monday after Wu granted your request to extend the original October 31 deadline. Responds to New York Marine’s four-claim amended complaint, filed on July 11, in standard form, with paragraph-by-paragraph denials accompanied by innocuous admissions as descriptions of its insurance policy and that the company on November 2, 2020″ he retired”. as one of the lawyers representing Ms. Heard in the depth lawsuit.” It also offers the defense that New York Marine’s four claims “do not establish sufficient facts to constitute claims against Ms. Heard” and that the company has “dirty hands” with respect to the policy.
Furthermore, he argues that the New York Marine acted in bad faith and therefore should mean that any recovery against Ms. Heard is “prohibited.” This appears to refer to New York Marine’s suggestion that Heard intentionally smeared Depp, but her insistence that Cameron McEvoy, a boutique firm run by edward w. cameron Y Timothy J. McEvoy, represent you at trial instead of an independent attorney. The firm ended up pulling out six months before the trial; Heard was eventually represented by Elaine Bredhoft, Adam NadelhaftY ben rotten of Charlson Bredehoft Cohen Brown & Nadelhaft PC in Reston, Virginia.
But current attorneys for Heard’s Pasich LLP say that before the firm backed down, New Marine “persisted in its position. . . despite Ms. Heard’s requests to reconsider.” This made it “impossible for Ms. Heard to fully accept this ‘advocacy’ spearheaded by the New York Navy”. without harming your defense in Depp’s lawsuit.” And after Cameron McEvoy withdrew, Heard believed New York Marine was reimbursing Travelers for some of the defense costs but, as Travelers describes in its lawsuit, the company “never has.”
“Therefore, at no time has the New York Marine fully fulfilled its duty to defend Ms. Heard in the depth lawsuit”, according to the counterclaim, which includes two lawsuits: breach of contract and willful breach of the implicit agreement of good faith and fair dealing.
Heard’s attorneys, including kirk pasch Y kayla robinsonhave previously argued that the federal case is interfering with Heard’s ongoing appeal in the depth lawsuit in Virginia state court, in which Depp’s lawyers filed a 44 page brief The 2nd of November.
A seven-page schedule report filed Oct. 31 said litigation should not proceed due to appeal, including depositions scheduled for Nov. 15. It also argued that the US District Court does not have jurisdiction over Heard because she “was not a resident of the United States when the New York Marine filed her suit and is now a non-resident of the United States.”
But the filing was simply a joint programming report that said the New York Marine could soon file for a protective order to stop the statements, which it said were scheduled for mid-November. As of November 22, nothing has been submitted.
Heard is seeking damages “in an amount to be proven at trial” and says that New York Marine’s actions “are inconsistent with Ms. Heard’s reasonable expectations, are contrary to established customs and practices in the insurance, are contrary to legal requirements, are contrary to the express terms of the Policy, and constitute bad faith.” She also seeks punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to punish and set an example for the New York Marine and deter similar conduct in the future.”
A conference on the status of the case is scheduled for December 1 by phone before Judge Wu in Los Angeles. A joint status report is due on November 29.
Read the full presentation here.
(Images: Both photos via Jim Watson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images.)
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