The decade's most triggering comedy
Oberlin College is suing four of its insurers after each refused to pay the school for the $36 million in damages it owed to the owners of Gibson’s Bakery, whom the college falsely accused of racism.
When Oberlin College was ordered to pay Gibson’s, the college suggested that the damages were merely a drop in the bucket for the school.
“The size of this verdict is significant. However, our careful financial planning, which includes insurance coverage, means that we can satisfy our legal obligation without impacting our academic and student experience,” the college said in a press release at the time.
But now those insurers have denied the college the millions it has already paid to the Gibson family, Legal Insurrection reported. The college filed the lawsuit in April, but it only came to light this week when The Chronicle-Telegram obtained a copy of the court filing.
Oberlin is suing Lexington Insurance Company, United Educators Insurance, Mount Hawley Insurance Company, and StarStone Specialty Insurance Company. The college claims the insurance companies wrongfully refused “to honor promises they made in their respective policies to protect the interests of Oberlin College” and its former vice president and dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, who helped lead the false charge against Gibson’s Bakery.
The college hopes the court will force the insurers to reimburse the college for the $36 million it has already paid to the Gibsons. One of the insurance companies reportedly gave the college $1 million, but the school argued in the lawsuit that it “also incurred millions of dollars in defense costs pursuing its appeals,” appeals the college says the insurance companies urged to potentially lessen the damages. It is unclear how much Oberlin spent on legal fees throughout the lawsuit, trial, and appeals process.
Oberlin had $25 million in commercial umbrella liability coverage from Lexington, a $10 million policy from Mount Hawley, a $5 million policy from StarStone, and $25 million in overlapping educators’ legal liability coverage from United Educators according to the lawsuit, per the Chronicle-Telegram.
“These policies were intended to provide seamless coverage for lawsuits like the Gibson litigation,” the lawsuit says. “Unfortunately, the defendant insurers have failed to pay a penny toward the $36,590,572.48 sum that Oberlin paid the Gibson plaintiffs. They also have failed to pay for the full cost of Oberlin’s appeals, which were pursued at the behest of the insurers in order to reduce their collective exposure.”
Oberlin says in its lawsuit that the insurance companies told the college that “some, if not all, of the damages” would be covered. But the college contends that Lexington and United Educators “engaged in a systematic, multi-year effort to avoid their coverage obligations by attempting to shift responsibility from the Gibson lawsuit to each other,” as well as other insurance companies and to the college itself, Oberlin says in its lawsuit.
Had the insurers taken a pretrial opportunity to resolve the litigation, Oberlin says, the case could have been settled for less than $10 million.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, several non-white Oberlin students attempted to steal alcohol from Gibson’s, a local bakery with a long history of serving the Oberlin community. A Gibson family member working at the bakery that day chased the students out of the store, where they attacked him. He called the police and the students were arrested, pleaded guilty, and admitted race had nothing to do with the incident.
But other students and faculty accused the bakery of racism and staged protests outside, with Oberlin officials fully endorsing and supporting the protestors’ false narrative. Further, while Oberlin claimed in court the protests were peaceful, some demonstrators entered the bakery and harassed customers, taking pictures of them and making disparaging comments. They also blocked customers from moving down the aisles and slashed the tires of a store employee.
Behind the scenes, Oberlin administrators trashed the bakery and anyone who defended it, calling defenders “idiots” and saying, “F*** them.”
Jurors sided with the bakery and awarded $44 million in total damages, which became $36 million after state limits were imposed.