Michael Ovitz is suing Fireman’s Fund Insurance over a legal settlement recently reached with Deadline editor Anita Busch, claiming the carrier is refusing to pay its fair share of the proceeds to end the matter.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court today, alleges breach of contract. Ovitz agreed to the Busch settlement days before the scheduled trial without admitting Busch’s claims. The insurance company is apparently balking at covering what Ovitz claims is its total liability under his policy in the deal.
“An insurance carrier, it has been said, is a company that will sell you an umbrella when the weather is good, and take it back when it rains,” said the motion by Ovitz attorney Eric George in the complaint. “It[Fireman’s] sold its aptly-named ‘Umbrella Policy’ to plaintiff, taking in substantial premiums for the promise of $30 million in excess insurance coverage. Then, when plaintiff himself was sued and sought to invoke the insurance benefits he paid for, Fireman’s refused coverage.”
Both of his primary insurance carriers, AIG and Chubb, have paid, Ovitz said, but the amounts did not reach the settlement amount. Fireman’s made a contribution that was short of its policy and has resorted to “extreme and frivolous” positions to avoid paying its full share, according to the legal documents.
“Fireman’s’ bad faith tactics to stymie settlement forced Plaintiff — literally on the Friday before the Monday “Final Settlement Conference” preceding trial — to contribute his own funds in order to achieve settlement of the underlying claims,” said the complaint.
Busch settled with Ovitz almost 16 years after discovering a dead fish on the shattered front window of her car, along with the threatening word “Stop.” Details of the settlement were confidential.
Busch was at the Los Angeles Times when the original incident occurred in 2002. The case wound through the courts for more than a decade. The accusation has been that Ovitz was behind Anthony Pellicano’s harassment and intimidation of Busch due to his dislike of the stories being written and pursued about him. Tape recordings unearthed in the Pellicano investigation revealed conversations between Ovitz and the investigator in which the former was complaining strongly about being in the media spotlight.
The case, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of Pellicano back in 2002, embroiled Hollywood lawyers and celebs as the PI to the Stars was brought down; Busch testified in two federal RICO/racketeering trials.
It is still unknown whether Busch will pursue a separate case against Pellicano, who was severed from her lawsuit case late last year. He is serving the rest of his sentence at Terminal Island in San Pedro, CA and is due for release on March 22, 2019.
Busch declined comment, referring the call to her attorney, who also decline comment. Fireman’s Fund did not immediately respond to a request for comment.