Harvey Weinstein’s Insurance Company Refuses to Pay for His Defense

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 4, 2018

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Harvey WeinsteinAs I blogged about a few months ago, Harvey Weinstein, the founder of The Weinstein Company and Miramax, has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting women over the course of decades.

He’s the subject of criminal investigations in New York, LA, and London and his former company is being sued for civil rights violations associated with the alleged abuse.

Weinstein is facing at least 11 lawsuits in at least three countries arising out of rape and harassment allegations.

According to USA Today, at least 84 women have accused Weinstein of “inappropriate to criminal” behavior.

Not Covered

Now, Variety reports that Weinstein’s insurance company is refusing to cover the cost of his defense.

Chubb Indemnity Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit in New York seeking a declaratory judgement that it’s not responsible for paying for Weinstein’s legal fees and any awards or settlements.

Weinstein has taken out 16 separate policies with Chubb since 1994. including one that covers “personal injury or property damage” claims.

Chubb says that allegations of sexual assault don’t qualify for coverage and that “Chubb advised Mr. Weinstein that such egregious, intentional acts by Mr. Weinstein do not constitute an ‘accident’ or an ‘offense.’”

Intentional Acts

Chubb claims that the insurance policies don’t cover “intentional acts,” such as assault:

The damages alleged in the Underlying Lawsuits arose out of pre-meditated, forcible sexual assault, pervasive and egregious sexual harassment, physical assault and battery and other intentional and deliberate conduct by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein’s acts were such that the consequences could and should have been foreseen by a reasonable person. Accordingly, Chubb declined coverage under the policies because the exclusion for ‘Intentional acts’ applies to bar coverage.

One relevant insurance policy states that:

We do not cover any damages arising out of a willful, malicious, fraudulent or dishonest act… An intentional act is one whose consequences would have been foreseen by a reasonable person.

Some of the policies specifically exclude coverage for sexual molestation, sexual misconduct or harassment, and abuse.

Claims of discrimination on the basis of sex also aren’t covered.

Complicit

Chubb’s complaint notes that the allegations of the lawsuits against Weinstein “and multiple ‘complicit’ individuals and companies” are that they

…conspired to lure women into vulnerable situations, under the guise of career advancement, so that Weinstein could rape, sexually assault or harass them, and then later silence any accusations of wrongdoing.

Bankruptcy

According to the New York Times, The Weinstein Company will file for bankruptcy following the collapse of efforts to sell itself for $275 million in cash and the assumption of $225 million in debt.

Miramax produced many successful and award-winning films, such as Shakespeare in Love. The company also won Tony Awards for producing plays and musicals such as The Producers. It was acquired by Disney in 1993.

After leaving Miramax, Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob founded The Weinstein Company in 2005. The company produced films such as Django Unchained and The King’s Speech.

Harvey Weinstein was dismissed from the company in October, after the allegations against him surfaced.


Photo Credit:

Harvey Weinstein 2011 Shankbone, David Shankbone, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

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