Axis balks at paying for Weinstein defence
A subsidiary of Bermudian-based insurer Axis Capital has filed a lawsuit seeking relief from paying for the defence costs of film-maker Harvey Weinstein in connection with pending civil and criminal litigation — including rape charges against him stemming from encounters with two women.
“Axis has no obligation to provide defence or indemnity coverage to Weinstein in connection with certain criminal and civil matters asserted against Weinstein and tendered to Axis under a primary directors and officers policy issued to The Walt Disney Co,” the original complaint, lodged by Axis Surplus Insurance Co, states.
BestWeek, a news service of the credit rating agency AM Best, reported that the Axis lawsuit is pending before Judge Denise Louise Cote, of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. A pre-trial hearing is set for October 19.
Mr Weinstein is seeking coverage under the D&O policy to pay for his defence for at least 15 criminal and civil complaints, according to court documents.
“Axis seeks a declaration that the various matters tendered to Axis for coverage do not fall within the scope of the coverage afforded by the insuring agreements of the policy under which Weinstein seeks coverage and that coverage for the tendered matters is precluded by California Insurance Code,” the complaint states.
The Axis director's and officer's policy, issued to Walt Disney and Miramax, has a maximum aggregate limit of liability of $25 million, the complaint said. The alleged serial sexual assaults are personal in nature and not covered under the D&O policy Axis issued, the complaint said.
In a separate case in the US, insurer Chubb has also sought judicial relief from defending Mr Weinstein.
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