In a legal saga that has sparked debate, Oberlin College finds itself embroiled in yet another courtroom battle. Here’s the full story.
Legal Action Against Insurance Providers
The prestigious liberal arts institution in northern Ohio has taken legal action against four of its insurance providers, demanding coverage for a substantial multimillion-dollar judgment.
The College Faced Accusations of Racism
The ongoing action follows from the highly publicized case involving Gibson’s Bakery, a small local business that claimed defamation and racism accusations against the college.
The dispute, which erupted in 2016, centers on a shoplifting incident at Gibson’s Bakery.
After three black students were pursued by the store’s owner for stealing, the college labeled the bakery as racist, igniting large-scale student protests and calls for a boycott.
College Had Unjustly Defamed
Jurors later ruled that Oberlin College had unjustly defamed the bakery.
Judgment in Favor of the Bakery
The legal battle that ensued spanned six years and culminated in a staggering $36.6 million judgment awarded to Gibson’s Bakery.
Compelling Insurers to Fulfil Promises
Faced with this hefty financial burden, Oberlin College now aims to compel its insurers to fulfill their promises of protection.
The College Filed a Lawsuit Against Four Insurers
In April of this year, Oberlin College initiated a lawsuit against four insurance companies.
Alleging Insurers Failed to Honor Policies
The college alleges that these insurers wrongly refused to honor their policy commitments, which were designed to safeguard the institution against the type of claims brought forth by Gibson’s Bakery.
According to the court documents, Oberlin College had insurance coverage totaling at least $75 million during the bakery incident. This coverage included substantial amounts from Lexington, Mount Hawley, StarStone, and United Educators.
The college argues that this coverage should have been more than sufficient to cover the judgment and associated legal costs.
They Didn’t Pay the Judgment Awarded
However, the insurance providers allegedly failed to pay the $36.6 million judgment awarded to Gibson’s Bakery and neglected to cover the expenses incurred during the lengthy appeals process.
Oberlin College’s lawsuit alleges that Lexington and United Educators engaged in a systematic and deliberate effort to evade their coverage responsibilities.
The college contends that these insurers could have settled for a fraction of the total amount before the case went to trial but instead chose to contest their obligations.
A Game of Passing the Buck
These insurers reportedly passed the responsibility back and forth between each other, leaving the college with the financial burden of the judgment and defense costs.
Getting What It Deserves…
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Guessing here that the insurance company paid for defense and made settlement recommendations that the school ignored. Oberlin is getting what it deserves.”
Another User wrote, “Yeah- you would not want to bet against the insurance company’s legal team when they have arguably the more sympathetic moral standing in addition to their skill/resources.”
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