Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Duke’s secret settlement results in forfeiture of reimbursement by insurer

“Don’t make us pay, says Duke insurer” is the title of an article in the January 21, 2009 News & Observer. According to the article, the National Union Fire Insurance Company was not told about the settlement Duke University reached with the families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants’ families until after the fact. The university’s excuse for not letting the insurance company know beforehand is because of a confidentiality clause in the settlement. The university should never have agreed to any confidentiality when negotiating the settlement with the Lacrosse defendants’ families, and made its big blunder when it, instead, violated its contract with its insurer. For Duke University to enter into a settlement agreement without first consulting with its insurance company doesn’t make sense and is unheard of (especially if planning on seeking financial relief from that company).

The fact that the conditions of the Duke-defendants’ families settlement (including the payout made by the university) are confidential, is troubling. Why not disclose the amount of the settlement? There are two reasons that come to mind. (1) The Lacrosse defendants’ families demanded such an outrageously high amount of money from the university that it did not want the public to realize the enormity of its greed. (2) The university did not want the public to realize the amount of money that it turned over to the Lacrosse defendants’ families without a fight. I still have no idea what Duke University did to incur substantial liability that would even consider agreeing to an out-of-court settlement.

It had been well documented that the Duke lacrosse team had a history of throwing raucous parties prior to the March 2006 incident. Furthermore, Duke administrators had previously warned the lacrosse coach to rein in his players’ off-field shenanigans.

Although I do not know for a fact, I have reason to believe that each of the three Duke lacrosse defendants received in settlement from the university the amount of seven million dollars ($7,000,000.00). A total of twenty-one million dollars ($21,000,000.00). That is enough incentive for 41 un-indicted Duke lacrosse players to file suit against the university, and for the former Duke lacrosse coach, Mike Pressler, to want a “do-over” (he is attempting to discard the settlement agreement that he had reached with the university and seek a more lucrative award through the court system).

The News & Observer article included this statement which it reported as fact, “The families of the Duke players racked up millions of dollars in legal fees.” I would like to know, for what? And you can bet that the families did not expend millions of dollars in legal fees. The avaricious law firms representing the families may have billed millions of dollars in an effort to demand more money from Duke University, but one thing is certain – they didn’t earn it. The media wants its consumers to believe that the families of the three lacrosse defendants endured financial hardships in order to free their boys. I don’t believe it.

Because of the irrational legal actions of Duke University (including withholding information from its insurer), suicidal actions by the state in destroying its own case and prosecutor, and the media’s pro-biased slant favoring the three lacrosse defendants, it’s no wonder that “the university also faces suits from most of the other players on the 2006 team and from former lacrosse coach Mike Pressler (last statement in the N&O article).”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike Nifong worked hard to get what he got. He did not work smart. He chose to attempt to crucify innocents on the altar of reverse discrimination rather than seek truth. Thank God their families had the money to fight Nifong and Duke to prove their sons innocent!