May 8, 2018 / 2:15 PM / 19 days ago

Harvey Weinstein fights insurer Chubb for payment of legal defense

(Reuters) - Film producer Harvey Weinstein is fighting back against personal indemnity insurer Chubb Ltd, saying Chubb must pay for his legal defense against 11 lawsuits that accuse him of sexually harassing or assaulting women over the past three decades, according to a court document filed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Company, kicks off the Film Finance Circle conference with an informal discussion at the inaugural Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, October 15, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Crisp/File Photo

Lawyers for Weinstein, in a countersuit against Chubb, which is refusing to pay for Weinstein’s defense against the cases, said that Weinstein has paid a group of Chubb insurers more than $1 million dollars in premiums for coverage designed to protect against “a wide variety of liability claims,” according to the document.

“Moreover, they promised to perform their defense obligations even if allegations against Mr. Weinstein proved to be groundless, false or fraudulent,” the Weinstein lawyers said in the document.

In February, Chubb Indemnity Insurance Co and several other Chubb units sued Weinstein and asked New York State Supreme Court to issue a judgment declaring that the policies’ terms exclude defending charges in the lawsuits, specifically sexual assault, discrimination and intentional acts.

The co-founder of the Miramax studio and The Weinstein Company was one of Hollywood’s most influential men before more than 70 women accused him of sexual misconduct, including assault. He denies having non-consensual sex with anyone.

On Tuesday, an affiliate of Lantern Capital is expected to received approval from a U.S. bankruptcy judge on Tuesday to buy the assets of The Weinstein Co for $310 million.

Units of Chubb have together issued 80 policies to Weinstein and his family between 1994 and 2018, including coverage for personal liability, Chubb said in its February suit.

That would normally cover legal costs to defend against claims of damage or injury caused accidentally, but the insurer said Weinstein’s conduct was intentional.

The policies include millions of dollars in “broad liability coverage,” $300,000 of “crisis assistance” coverage, and unlimited coverage for Weinstein’s legal defense, Weinstein’s lawyers said in the countersuit, filed late on Monday.

“Almost overnight, Mr. Weinstein became a pariah,” they wrote. “His denials of liability because background noise, lost in the international uproar that followed.”

A Chubb spokesman declined to comment.

Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Additional reporting by Tom Hals

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