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23rd Nov 2022

Amber Heard sues insurance company over $8.3 million Johnny Depp debt

Steve Hopkins

Five months after the verdict and the case is far from resolved

Amber Heard has reportedly filed a lawsuit against her insurance company, arguing that they should cover her $8.3 million debt to Johnny Depp just week after the actor took action to overturn the one claim his ex-wife won against him.

The Aquaman actor owes Depp millions after he won a high-profile defamation case against her in Virginia in June. Depp, 59, was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the latter amount was was later reduced to $350,000 in keeping with Virginia law.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued Heard over a Washington Post op-ed she wrote in 2018 which he believed implied he was an abuser.

Heard was awarded $2 million in her countersuit, but Depp is now challenging that with his lawyers arguing the decision was “erroneous” and should be overturned.

At present, Heard owes Depp $8.35m.

Heard, 36, is now counter suing New York Marine and General Insurance Co after taking out a policy for $1 million that covered defamation.

The company claimed they should not have to pay out because Heard was found guilty of wilful misconduct and say their actions are supported by California law that says insurance companies to do not need to pay up in the event of “wilful acts”.

Heard argues she took out an “unconditional deal” in court documents published by TMZ, and therefore the company is liable to pay $1 million of her debt.

Depp has originally sought $50 million in damages from Heard and she counter sued for $100 million.

She was awarded $2 million on the basis that Depp’s lawyer had defamed her.

Lawyer Adam Waldman had described Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse against the actor as a “an ambush, a hoax”.

Depp now argues that he should not be legally responsible for his employee’s actions.

According to the Independent, the actor’s brief stated: “The judgment in Ms Heard’s favour on that lone statement is erroneous. “As a matter of law, Mr Waldman is an independent contractor, whose allegedly tortious conduct is not automatically attributable to Mr Depp.”

The brief adds that Depp’s claims that his ex-wife’s article was defamatory was proven by the court and that there was no evidence that Depp had any influence or involvement in his lawyer’s decision to describe Heard’s claims in this way.

Heard is also appealing the defamation verdict of the trial, which argues that the 2020 UK libel verdict in her favour should have been used as evidence.

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