A Chubb Ltd. unit is seeking a court declaration that it does not have to defend or indemnify eBay Inc. and former officers and employees in connection with the harassment of a Massachusetts couple.
Seven former eBay workers were accused in 2020 of harassing David and Ina Steiner, who co-authored a newsletter, by arranging anonymous messages that included a bloody pig worm and live insects.
They did so after two top executives expressed frustration with the newsletter, according to prosecutors and a lawsuit the company filed against San Jose-based eBay.
Chubb unit Ace Property & Casualty Insurance Co. had issued a series of commercial general liability policies to eBay with policy periods from October 2015 to October 2021, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in San Jose in ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Co. vs. eBay Inc. et al.
Its policies exceeded the primary policies issued by Zurich Insurance Group. Zurich did not respond to a request for comment.
In August, eBay forwarded a copy of a lawsuit filed by the Steiners to Ace, requesting that it provide coverage under the umbrella policies, according to the Ace complaint.
In April, in letters to eBay as well as former eBay CEO Devin Wenig and former Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Steve Wymer, who were named in the Steiner litigation but not charged with crimes in the case, Ace agreed to investigate the civil case . to a full reservation of rights including its right to disclaim coverage.
The insurer waives coverage to other former employees who were involved in the case. “The loss alleged by the Steiners in the civil suit was caused by the willful acts of eBay and its former executives Wenig and Wymer and the convicted defendants pursuant to the California Insurance Code, and therefore Ace is not liable, the suit says.
The insurer also demands interest, costs and attorney’s fees.
EBay did not respond to a request for comment.