Amber Heard is “learning the hard way” about the limitations of insurance as her insurance provider has taken measures to not be held responsible for paying her legal fees, a lawyer has said.
Following the highly publicized blockbuster trial between the actress and her ex-husband Johnny Depp, both parties were found liable for defamation in their lawsuits against each other.
The jury awarded Depp $15 million in damages and only $2 million to Heard, and since the jury’s decision, Heard has fought for a retrial, citing that there were several issues with the June ruling.
On Friday, Heard’s insurance company, New York Marine and General Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit seeking to not be forced to cover the Aquaman star’s legal defense fees and expenses for the multimillion-dollar trial or any appeal thereafter.
In the filings, obtained by Insurance Journal, the company said that the jury’s ruling of defamation “establish that Heard’s liability is caused by the willful acts of Heard.”
According to the filing, because Heard’s insurance policy does not cover “willful acts,” the insurer said it is not responsible for paying out on Heard’s $1 million general liability policy.
Attorney Andrew Lieb of Lieb at Law, P.C. said that people often assume that their insurance company will cover all of their liability and that in this instance, Heard is in for a rude awakening.
“People wrongfully assume that their insurance company will cover all of their liability because they only read their binders and rarely study their actual policy when paying for insurance,” Lieb told Newsweek. “However, an insurance policy is written so that it appears to cover everything at first glance and only when one reads the exclusions and endorsements does one learn what is truly covered.”
Lieb explained how important it is that everyone reads their entire policy so they can understand that it generally does not cover intentional acts such as defamation, discrimination, and assault unless the policyholder pays for an endorsement for that specific coverage.
“This is a lesson that Ms. Heard is now learning the hard way,” Lieb said. “Simply, your insurance is not a grant of permission to intentionally hurt others.”
Previously, a lawyer on TikTok said that he believed Heard would have to file for bankruptcy in the event of a Depp victory in the lawsuit.
“You can’t get blood from a turnip,” lawyer Mark Breyer said bluntly on TikTok ahead of the verdict announcement in May.
“That’s the reality. We don’t have debtor’s prison anymore,” he said. “So what’s going to happen is he [Depp] could go after all the money she had, she would probably file for bankruptcy, but certain things would be protected in bankruptcy. But the reality is that’s the problem with laws where people aren’t required to have insurance.”
Meanwhile, Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, has publicly said that Heard is unable to pay Depp the full amount that she owes him.
Heard’s attorneys are now calling for a mistrial and have filed court documents claiming that someone who had been originally summoned to serve as a juror in the trial had not appeared and was replaced by someone else.