An insurance company is suing eBay and some former executives seeking a declaratory judgment over its duty to indemnify them in a civil lawsuit filed by the publishers of EcommerceBytes
in July of 2021 over the 2019 cyberstalking campaign against them (Ina Steiner, David Steiner, and Steiner Associates LLC).
ACE Property and Casualty Insurance Company said it had issued a series of commercial umbrella liability policies to eBay but alleged the insurance does not apply to Knowing Violation of Rights of Another; Material Published with Knowledge of Falsity; and Criminal Acts. (Indemnify is to compensate for harm or loss.)
ACE said eBay requested coverage for the Civil Action on August 11, 2021. ACE said it disclaimed coverage to the seven defendants who pled guilty in the related criminal cases earlier this year (Veronica Zea, Philip Cooke, Stephanie Stockwell, Brian Gilbert, and Stephanie Popp, as well as Jim Baugh and David Harville).
ACE also said it agreed in April to investigate the Civil Action for eBay, Devin Wenig (eBay's former CEO), and Steve Wymer (eBay's former Chief Communications Officer), subject to a full reservation of rights.
In Friday's court filing, ACE said its umbrella policies do not cover the civil action. As part of its basis for seeking to disclaim coverage, it quoted from a PowerPoint presentation eBay had made to the government in March of 2021:
"The eBay PowerPoint Deck contained a stated purpose to persuade the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") that, although "DOJ could take enforcement against the company [eBay]," "a decision not to take enforcement action against eBay . . . is in the interest of justice, the victims, and the public.
"In the eBay PowerPoint Deck, eBay acknowledged "the seriousness of the misconduct and the company's responsibility." It further acknowledged, "The conduct of the seven defendants [i.e., Baugh, Harville, Popp, Stockwell, Gilbert, Cooke, and Zea] was clearly criminal, and eBay is troubled by the role here of its former-CEO [i.e., Wenig] and former Chief Communications Officer [i.e., Wymer] in particular." The eBAy Power Deck described Wymer's conduct as "Inexcusable from any employee, much less an ELT member," noted that eBay "fired [Wymer] for cause" "due to [the] Natick events" (emphasis original), and recognized that Wenig and Wymer had "contributed significantly to the crimes in Natick."
ACE stated in Friday's filing: "A binding declaration determining the rights and obligations of ACE and eBay, Wenig, and Wymer under the ACE Umbrella Policies with respect to the Civil Action is necessary, will resolve the parties' disagreement, and will facilitate any settlement efforts in the Civil Action."
In addition to its request for a declaratory judgment in its insurance coverage action, ACE is seeking an award of its interest, costs and attorneys' fees. You can read the full filing on CourtListener