Harvard Says Insurer Played 'Cat & Mouse' On Top Court Case

Law360
09/20/2022

Harvard University accused Zurich American Insurance Co. of playing a game of "cat and mouse" in trying to avoid covering the school's legal tab racked up while defending its affirmative-action admissions policy in a suit that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In an opposition memorandum filed late Monday night, the Ivy League school said that, while it did not give Zurich formal notice about the landmark lawsuit until the spring of 2017, the company clearly knew about the legal challenge through widespread media coverage and its own underwriting process.

The alleged late notice is the only reason Zurich gave for denying the $15 million worth of excess coverage to handle Harvard's legal bills. The university called it a technicality that should not allow Zurich to duck its contractual obligations.

"Insurance is not a game of cat and mouse, and Zurich fails to cite a single case that permitted an insurance company to escape its obligations under the circumstances present here," the memorandum states. "To the contrary, Massachusetts courts do not allow parties to escape their contractual obligations based on technical non-compliance with a contract term when the purpose of that term was fully satisfied."

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Harvard is represented by Ethan W. Middlebrooks, Jade W. Sobh and Marshall Gilinsky of Anderson Kill PC.

To read the full article, click here. 

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