Anyone who has had to face allegations of defamation would probably agree that having to deal with such a lawsuit constitutes personal injury. Defendants involved in these types of lawsuits often have to pay hefty legal fees in order to defend themselves against the allegations, to say nothing of the damage the lawsuit does to the individual’s personal and professional reputations.
What many people might not be aware of is that many wealthy and middle class people have insurance policies that cover most of these legal costs. It’s common for the defendants to react with surprise when they’re told they can have their insurance company cover most of the costs of the lawsuit, but in the latest defamation lawsuits against Bill Cosby, his insurer was the one who was surprised.
Bill Cosby is currently accused of having sexually assaulted dozens of women in the course of his very long career as a comedian and entertainer. The statute of limitations has expired on the sexual assault charges, but that hasn’t stopped his alleged victims from seeking a different form of restitution.
Ten women in three different states have filed defamation lawsuits against Cosby for denying their claims of sexual abuse and allegedly trying to tarnish their reputations after they came forward with their accusations.
Cosby is one of an estimated seven million Americans with homeowner’s insurance that covers “personal injury.” For most homeowners, their insurance only covers “bodily injury,” which protects the homeowner from liability if someone is physically hurt while on their property. But many members of the rich and famous class of Americans pay for extended homeowner’s insurance that covers a wider range of “personal injury” claims, including when someone accuses the homeowner of defamation.
American International Group (A.I.G.), which sold Cosby his extended homeowner’s insurance, has refused to pay for the legal costs required to defend him in the highly publicized and controversial lawsuits. According to A.I.G., Cosby’s insurance plan does not cover any claims for personal injury that result from any allegations of sexual misconduct, regardless of whether there’s any truth to the allegations.
Cosby responded by suing his insurance company in order to get a court order for them to provide the coverage he says was included in his insurance policies on his homes in Massachusetts and California. Each policy comes with a limited liability coverage of $1 million. Cosby and his wife, Camille, also purchased an additional liability policy that should provide up to $35 million of coverage.
Cosby sued A.I.G. in federal court in Massachusetts and California, as well as state court in Pennsylvania. So far, the California court has ruled in Cosby’s favor. The judge determined the language of the insurance policy was too vague, and that when left in doubt, the law defaults to providing coverage. The court also ruled that because the defamation lawsuits were not directly caused by Cosby’s alleged sexual misconduct, but rather by his statements about the plaintiffs, the company’s exclusion does not apply to the cases at hand.
Whether this ruling will have any effect on the rulings of the other two courts has yet to be determined, but A.I.G. has already said it intends to appeal the California court’s ruling.
Our firm has represented a number of clients who have faced hefty legal bills for the defense defamation, malicious prosecution or other claims and arranged for their insurance companies to pay all of our legal fees and costs. Our clients want to hire us to defend them as opposed to counsel chosen by their insurance carriers to ensure that there is no conflict of interest and they get a full throttled defense from attorneys who answer to their interests first and not those of the insurance carrier. As you can see from the Bill Cosby case many times an insurance company is simply interested in keeping fees low and not in ensuring the best defense of its insured.
Our Chicago libel and slander lawyers concentrate in this area of the law. We have defended or prosecuted a number of defamation and libel cases, including cases representing a consumer sued by a large luxury used car dealer in federal court for hundreds of negative internet reviews and videos which resulted in substantial media coverage of the suit; one of Loyola University’s largest contributors when the head basketball coach sued him for libel after he was fired; and a lawyer who was falsely accused of committing fraud with the false allegation published to the Dean of the University of Illinois School of Law, where the lawyer attended law school and the President of the University of Illinois. One of our partners also participated in representing a high profile athlete against a well-known radio shock jock.
Our Chicago defamation attorneys defend individuals’ First Amendment and free speech rights to post on Facebook, Yelp and other websites information that criticizes businesses and addresses matters of public concern. Our Chicago Cybersquatting attorneys also represent and prosecute claims on behalf of businesses throughout the Chicago area including in Naperville, Aurora and Sugar Grove, who have been unfairly and falsely criticized by consumers and competitors in defamatory publications in the online and offline media. We have successfully represented businesses who have been the victim of competitors setting up false rating sites and pretend consumer rating sites that are simply forums to falsely bash or business clients. We have also represented and defended consumers First Amendment and free speech rights to criticize businesses who are guilty of consumer fraud and false advertising.
Super Lawyers named Chicago and Oak Brook business trial attorney Peter Lubin Super Lawyer in the Categories of Class Action, Business Litigation, and Consumer Rights Litigation. Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook and Chicago business trial lawyers have over a quarter of a century of experience in litigating complex class action, consumer rights, and business and commercial litigation disputes. We handle emergency business lawsuits involving injunctions, and TROS, defamation, libel, and covenant not to compete, franchise, distributor and dealer wrongful termination and trade secret lawsuits and many different kinds of business disputes involving shareholders, partnerships, closely held businesses and employee breaches of fiduciary duty. We also assist businesses and business owners who are victims of fraud or defamatory attacks on their business and reputations.
Lubin Austermuehle’s Palatine and Elmwood Park defamation and slander lawyers have more than two and half decades of experience helping business clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state business laws. Our Chicago business, commercial, class-action, and consumer litigation lawyers represent individuals, family businesses and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners and shareholders as well as lawsuits between businesses and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Oak Brook, near Elk Grove Village, Evanston, and Skokie, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest.
If you are the victim of a defamatory attack on your business or a consumer who has been sued to stop you from posting criticism of a business online at Yelp or anywhere else, contact one of our Oak Brook and Chicago defamation lawyers for a free consultation at 630-333-0333 or online by filling out our contact us form.