Thursday, 29 September 2022 – Amber Heard has reportedly changed lawyers again in her attempt to force two insurance firms to pay the bill for her libel payout to ex-husband, Johnny Depp.
Heard, 36, was ordered to pay her ex-husband more than $10 million in damages at the end of the explosive trial in June, when a jury ruled she had defamed Depp in a newspaper opinion piece published in 2018.
She is currently represented by David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown in her appeal of that verdict.
The actress has also recently hired Kirk Pasich on her legal team in an attempt to get multiple insurance companies to cover her legal bills, which may surpass $15million, according to Puck News.
Puck claims that Heard’s expenses soared over $8million before the Virginia trial even began. Heard’s team appears to want homeowner’s insurance to cover those bills.
The battle concerns Travelers Commercial Insurance Company and New York Marine General Insurance Company. Travelers initially sued New York Marine in July 2021 to gain reimbursement for half of what it spent on defending a client that turned out to be Heard.
Heard’s homeowners policy with Travelers covered ‘libel’ to the point of about $500,000, while New York Marine had issued her a general liability policy for $1million.
The crux of the suit was Travelers believing Heard had the right to pick her own lawyers, while New York Marine disagreed, believing the case was ‘fairly straightforward’. A judge agreed with New York Marine’s desire to use local, cheaper attorneys.
Travelers had doubts about New York Marine’s appointed lawyers Timothy McEvoy and Sean Patrick Roche, arguing they ‘piggy-backed’ on the work of Heard attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Elaine Charlson Bredehoft.
New York Marine, for their part, claimed their attorneys were frozen out by Kaplan and Bredehoft. They now want $621,693 paid back in exchange for their contribution to Heard’s defense fund because their lawyers were kept out of various legal proceedings.
The insurers are currently suing Heard to avoid contributing to the libel settlement that has the Aquaman star set to pay Depp about $10.35million using a California law preventing insurers from covering ‘willful acts’. Pasich is representing Heard to try and deal with this situation on her behalf.
At the end of the defamation trial, Depp, 59, was awarded $10million to $15million in compensatory damages and $5million in punitive damages.
The judge later capped the damages at the state’s maximum of $350,000 leaving Depp with a total of $8.35million.
Meanwhile, Heard won one of her three countersuit claims related to statements made by Depp’s lawyer suggesting the actress and her friends had trashed their apartment before calling the police.
The actress was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages out of the $100 million she sought.
A day after Heard’s team filed an appeal, Depp’s team did the same to overturn the couple million the actor owes to his ex-wife.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s team said they filed an appeal to ensure ‘all information is considered by the court’ while they return to consider Heard’s appeal.