Amber Heard‘s former insurance provider is taking measures to not be held responsible for paying the actress’ legal fees and damages in her defamation case with ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Last month, the six-week Virginia trial ended with the jury siding mostly with Depp, awarding the 59-year-old actor over $10 million in damages after finding Heard, 36, defamed him in a 2018 op-ed, though she didn’t mention him by name in the article. She was awarded $2 million in damages, winning one of her three defamation countersuit claims.
The day after the verdict, her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said Heard planned to appeal and she can “absolutely not” afford to pay the damages amount. Bredehoft said in closing arguments that Heard had racked up $6 million in legal fees by that point.
On Friday, Heard requested a mistrial and a potential re-do on the case, claiming the wrong juror was seated for the proceedings.
Also on Friday, New York Marine and General Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit seeking to not be forced to cover Heard’s legal defense fees and expenses for the multimillion-dollar trial or any subsequent appeal.
According to court documents, the provider covered Heard from July 18, 2018, to July 18, 2019, which spanned when the Washington Post op-ed was published in December 2018 and when Depp sued Heard in March 2019.
The insurance company says the $1-million policy doesn’t cover “willful acts” and noted there was a change in her legal defense team from the one they initially agreed upon: “The jury’s factual findings establish that Heard’s liability is caused by the willful act(s) of Heard. As a result, as a matter of California public policy and pursuant to California Insurance Code 533, the Policy does not provide coverage for Heard’s liability as reflected in the Judgment Order entered on June 24, 2022.”
That California law states that an insurer is “not liable for a loss caused by the willful act of the inured.”
“On October 1, 2019, New York Marine accepted Heard’s defense of the Underlying Action subject to reservation of rights,” the filing reads. “Specifically, New York Marine advised Heard that New York Marine would provide a legal defense but that ‘to the extent California law does not permit an insurer to indemnify the insured, no indemnity can be provided.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, a different insurance company, Travelers Commercial Insurance has supported Heard via a 2018 homeowners insurance policy. Travelers sued New York Marine to make it pay half of Heard’s defense costs, the outlet reported, and New York Marine countersued.
Depp’s lawyer Benjamin Chew said on Good Morning America last month that, for the actor, the case was “never about money … this was about restoring his reputation, and he’s done that.”