Amber Heard owes Johnny Depp $8.35 million. Although, technically speaking, at this precise moment, she doesn’t have to pay him anything. That’s because Johnny hasn’t “enforced” the judgment yet. Johnny must enforce the judgment to make it official. He could also choose not to apply it.
If and when Johnny Depp enforces judgment, Amber will quickly find herself in a very difficult position if she cannot afford to write him a check for $8.35 million. And, based on our estimates, which were essentially confirmed by Amber’s own legal team, Amber”absolutely can’t” afford to write a check for $8.35 million.
Before the judgment, we estimated Amber Heard’s net worth to be $2.5 million. We now assume that she is essentially in debt to the tune of about $6 million.
If Johnny enforces the judgment and Amber doesn’t pay, he can begin the process of pursuing his assets and asking to garnish future wages. It is a brutal experience. You almost always see a debtor file for bankruptcy in anticipation of a lawsuit. Unfortunately, bankruptcy may not be an option for Amber, as defamation judgments cannot be erased or reduced by bankruptcy if the person has been found to have defamed with “actual malice”. In other words, if it’s been determined that the person caused the harm intentionally…not accidentally…then they defamed with actual malice, and that eliminates bankruptcy. Most of the legal opinions I’ve read believe that Amber was tried for defaming Johnny with real malice. But, to be clear, I’m not a lawyer.
The good news for Amber is that she has defamation insurance! The bad news is that one of Amber’s insurance companies just filed legal documents to avoid paying the libel judgment.
On Friday, New York Marine and General Insurance Co. (it’s a company), filed a lawsuit against Amber Heard in federal court asking to be relieved of the obligation to pay a portion of the defamation debt. That party would max out at $1 million under the terms of a liability protection policy it received from the insurer in 2019.
New York Marine is suing for not having to pay out $1 million because it claims its policy does not cover acts that were “willful misconduct”.
In its lawsuit, New York Marine claimed:
“Plaintiff argues that he has no obligation to defend Heard based on California Insurance Code 533.”
This code indicates:
“An the insurer is not liable for loss caused by the intentional act of the insured.”
The lawsuit further claims:
“Jury’s factual findings establish that Heard’s liability is caused by Heard’s willful act(s).”
And to complicate matters, New York Marine is also being sued… by another insurance company, Amber’s OTHER.
According to testimony given in the Heard v. Depp, Amber has also so far been protected by a defamation policy she has with a second company called Travelers Insurance. Reportedly, Travelers has covered $6 million in legal fees to date. Travelers is suing for New York Marine to pay its share of defense costs and any potential damages that will ultimately be enforced.
Another unknown X-factor in this saga is whether or not either of these policies have maximum coverage amounts on the libel judgment AND what Amber’s deductibles might be in this case. It’s entirely possible that the entire $8.35 million could be covered by insurance if Amber has such a high policy.