Many companies have insurance policies that protect the company or people in the company when they are sued. These policies can include an obligation on the insurer to defend someone or to pay out a claim (indemnity).
These policies often cover unintentional acts. They usually do not cover intentional acts or malicious behaviour. However, each insurance policy is different.
Some of the lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein for his workplace misconduct may trigger coverage under his insurance policy. Triggering coverage under the insurance policy depends on how the pleadings are drafted. If the pleadings depict his behaviour as unintentional, then there may be a duty to defend him.
Weinstein’s insurer is now asking the court to find that it has no duty to defend him. Weinstein’s insurer is arguing that his acts were “willful and malicious”. These acts are excluded under his insurance policy. And, therefore the insurer does not have a duty to defend him.
I predict that the Court will side with the insurer. The Court has an obligation to look at the allegations against him. If the allegations cast his behaviour as “willful and/or malicious”, then there will be no coverage. This may ultimately hurt Weinstein’s victims. The insurer likely would have had a duty to pay out some of the claims against him.
(Views are my own and do not represent the views of any organization.)