Amber Heard’s Lawyer Says She Can’t Pay the Judgment

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You may be living in a cave, or just not really care, but many people are now aware that Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation and that he more or less won. Now we are finding out more about Heard, not that we don’t already know more than we ever wanted to.  

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Last week, Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, and when asked if her client would be able to pay the $10.4 million she now owes Depp, responded, “Oh, no, absolutely not,” reports The Post. 

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Interestingly, shortly after the jury’s verdict was announced, it was reported that Amber Heard would appeal.  Of course, appealing takes money and it is not a “right.”  So it could be another tightrope Heard and her attorney will have to walk, both appealing and saying Heard doesn’t have the money to pay the money she owes to Depp.

It has been reported that Heard has thus far used her Traveler’s Insurance homeowner’s policy to pay her lawyers, said The Post.  It may seem odd that Heard has been able to use her homeowner’s policy to cover her attorneys’ fees but “[i]t’s a little oddity that most people don’t know. In most homeowner insurance policies, there is coverage if you are sued for defamation based on how much you pay through coverage,” reports The Post, who was informed of this by Heather Heidelbaugh, a Pennsylvania trial attorney.

Coverage doesn’t usually apply to paying a judgment, however.  “The insurance company will keep in its back pocket the option of denying coverage at the end of the day — denying coverage means refusing to pay the plaintiff, in this case Mr. Depp,” Virginia lawyer Jeremiah Denton told The Post.  “A lot of insurance policies provide coverage for defamation but they have an exclusion in, which says ‘We will not cover any intentional wrongdoing,’ In order to win a defamation case against a public figure, you have to show intentional wrongdoing. Sometimes what it requires to get the judgment kicks you out of the policy that may pay for the judgment. That’s the dilemma.”

That certainly sounds like a dilemma now for Heard. Another one she has is that she has reportedly spent much of her money on expensive jewelry, vehicles and so forth.  Her net worth has been estimated at $1.5 to $2.5 million.  Do the math, and you can see that she is in the hole.

It looks like GoFundMe won’t be an option for Heard. The Daily Mail Online tweeted: “GoFundMe shuts down $1million page claiming to be raising cash for Amber Heard[.]”

Bankruptcy won’t be an option either. “Because this is an intentional tort — the willful element of defamation that had to be found because they’re celebrities — takes it out of the possibility of bankruptcy because it was a willful act. So it’s an intentional tort,”  Legal analyst Emily D. Baker told PEOPLE. 

Heard could get lucky though.  In his closing argument, Depp’s attorney Ben Chew told the jury, the case “has never been about money” or punishment.

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Ok, we’ve learned one very important lesson here: if ever sued for defamation, look to your homeowner’s policy first. Also, Johnny Depp may be a really nice guy. Heard likely caused him a lot of financial loss with her statements about abuse, so why he wouldn’t want to be compensated for that doesn’t make a lot of sense. If it were you would you demand to be paid?

Stacey Warner

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