American International Group, acting under a homeowner’s insurance policy it issued for comedian Bill Cosby, has settled defamation claims filed by seven women against the entertainer.
Terms of the settlements were not disclosed in the court documents filed by the women’s lawyer, Joseph Cammarata, in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“Each Plaintiff is satisfied with the settlement,” Cammarata told the court.
The settlement must still be approved by the judge.
The women had claimed Cosby sexually abused them years ago but suits on those allegations were barred by statutes of limitations. They filed the defamation lawsuit now being settled after Cosby said they were lying.
Cosby, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence in Pennsylvania following his conviction on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted another woman more than a decade ago, criticized AIG for settling the claims through his lawyers in an April 5 Tweet on social media:
“They have proven that they do not have the best interest of their clients in mind, which will cause them to lose an overwhelming amount of business. I (Bill Cosby) will never settle any defamation claims, I will continue to pursue my counterclaims.”
Another social media post read:
“Mr. Cosby did not settle any cases with anyone. He is not paying anything to anyone, and he is still pursuing his counterclaims. AIG decided to settle these cases, without the knowledge, permission and/or consent of Mr. Cosby. Mr. Cosby vehemently denies the allegations brought against him in these defamation suits and he maintains his innocence.”
AIG issued a statement that it “does not comment publicly on specific claims issues.”
However, AIG spokesman Matthew Gallagher told CNN, “Certain insurance policies provide insurers with the authority to resolve claims when the insured has been informed.”
Cosby has counterclaims pending against the women who sued him. In informing the court of the settlement offer, the lawyer for the women said they would seek to have those claims dismissed.
This is not the first time that AIG and Cosby have been at odds. The insurer resisted having to defend Cosby against the defamation suits under a homeowner’s policy. AIG had argued that Cosby’s policies excused it from defending and indemnifying him against personal injury claims “arising out of” sexual misconduct, as distinct from personal injury claims such as defamation.
However, judges in Massachusetts and California sided with Cosby and ruled in 2016 that AIG did have to defend Cosby, although left open until after a trial or settlement was the question of whether AIG must indemnify Cosby for damages he may be required to pay the women.
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