Court rejects Zillow’s insurance claim for legal expenses in VHT case

  • Federal court rules Zillow's insurance carrier doesn't have to cover Zillow's legal expenses in a case brought by a real estate photo company.

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Inman Connect San Francisco, Jul 16-20, 2018

Looks like Zillow will have to cover its own legal expenses -- including an $8.3 million verdict if it sticks -- for infringing real estate photography company VHT’s copyrights. On Thursday, a federal court ruled that Zillow's insurance carrier -- National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. -- did not have to defend or indemnify Zillow in its litigation with VHT because Zillow did not report the underlying claim on time. National Union filed a lawsuit in September 2016 to avoid paying Zillow's legal expenses related to the VHT case and Zillow filed a counterclaim. The court ruled in favor of National Union and dismissed Zillow's counterclaim. The real estate industry has been following the VHT lawsuit closely, in part because the photos at issue in the case were provided to Zillow by real estate agents, brokers and multiple listing services -- possibly under misattributed rights. The case highlights how real estate agents and brokers may want to keep trac...