Entertainment

Cosby’s insurer settles another accuser’s lawsuit before deposition

Maryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
Published 7:26 p.m. ET April 16, 2019

PHILADELPHIA  — Bill Cosby’s insurance company has settled another lawsuit filed by an accuser a week before the imprisoned comedian was set to give a deposition in the case, prompting Cosby to call the insurer “complicit” in a scheme to destroy him.

Former model Chloe Goins had accused Cosby of drugging and molesting her at a party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in 2008, when she was about 18. When Los Angeles police declined to press charges due to statute of limitations issues, she filed a civil suit against him accusing him of sexual battery.

Cosby in a statement issued by spokesman Andrew Wyatt on Tuesday, accused American International Group Inc. of “egregious behavior” in settling what he called a “frivolous” suit, and said he could prove he was in New York at the time of their alleged encounter. Goins’ lawsuit was filed in state court in Los Angeles.

Goins’ lawyers, Craig Goldenfarb and Spencer Kuvin, said their client was pleased with the confidential settlement. An AIG spokesman said the insurer had no comment.

“Mr. Cosby’s legal team provided medical records, which showed that Mr. Cosby had undergone eye surgery and was in New York, recuperating at his home, at the time of the alleged events,” Cosby’s statement said.

Cosby, 81, is serving a three- to 10-year prison term after a Pennsylvania jury last year found he drugged and molested Andrea Constand, a friend who worked at his alma mater, Temple University, at his nearby home in 2004.

Earlier this month, AIG settled defamation lawsuits filed by seven other Cosby accusers in Massachusetts, after losing a legal battle over their duty to defend Cosby in those cases. Cosby issued a similarly blistering statement attacking AIG for that settlement and denying that he approved it or would pay it.

“AIG showed that they’re a part of the corruption against me, by paying off these distractors, without my knowledge, without my permission and without my consent,” his first statement read.

Cosby had at least $37 million in insurance coverage through AIG, including two $1 million homeowner’s policies and a $35 million umbrella policy protecting him from personal injury or property damage claims. AIG argued that the policies did not cover sexual misconduct claims.

However, a federal appeals court, in a 2018 decision written by former Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who was filling in on the court, said the defamation claims were distinct from the sexual misconduct claims underlying them, and must be covered.

The Massachusetts plaintiffs said Cosby and his agents had labeled them liars in public comments denying their accusations. AIG declined to comment Tuesday on its decision to settle the lawsuits or on Cosby’s ire.

Cosby, in his second angry statement, called AIG “complicit in this scheme to destroy me and my family.”

“I can only imagine how terribly they’re treating their policyholders, who don’t have my means and my resource,” Cosby said in the statement.

Cosby vowed to pursue his pending counter-suits against the Massachusetts accusers and against Goins.

The settlements largely bring a close to what was once a dizzying spate of litigation involving sexual misconduct and defamation accusations lodged against Cosby around the country starting in late 2014. 

Two other defamation lawsuits against him have already been dismissed, one of which recently failed to get a U.S. Supreme Court hearing. There are now two lawsuits remaining in California filed by accusers Judith Huth and Janice Dickinson, Wyatt said.

Cosby is appealing his conviction in the Pennsylvania criminal case, insisting the encounter with Andrea Constand was consensual. He had settled a civil lawsuit she filed in 2006, and was arrested nearly a decade later, after a deposition he gave in the case was unsealed, prompting prosecutors to reopen the criminal case.

Los Angeles police investigated Goins’ claims, but said she had come forward months after the six-year statute of limitations ran out. She initially filed the lawsuit against both Cosby and Playboy Mansion owner Hugh Hefner, but Hefner was dismissed from the case before he died in 2017.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they give their permission, which the Cosby accusers have done.

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