The proprietors of Gibson’s Bakery, who were wrongly accused of racism by Oberlin Institution, are suing the institution and four insurers for $36 million in damages. The university first claimed the losses were minor, but its insurance has now refused to reimburse it for the millions it paid to the Gibson family. The college’s complaint was first filed in April, but news of it did not become public until this week when the media acquired a copy.
Oberlin Institution has sued Gibson’s Bakery and its insurance provider, claiming the company unfairly failed to uphold its policy obligations to defend the institution and its former vice president and dean of students, Meredith Raimondo. The university is seeking reimbursement from the insurers for the $36 million it has already paid to the Gibsons via the legal system.
Although the institution received $1 million from one of the insurance companies, it claimed in the complaint that it had spent millions more on legal fees defending itself and appealing the decision.
How much Oberlin spent on lawyers throughout the lengthy case, trial, and appeals is not apparent. The university asserts that Lexington and United Educators have been avoiding their coverage responsibilities for the Gibson litigation by trying to blame each other, other insurance firms, and the university itself for a number of years. The insurers had a chance to settle the lawsuit before trial for less than $10 million, but they passed it up.
After statutory limitations were applied, the total amount of damages awarded to Gibson’s Bakery from the action against Oberlin College was reduced to $36 million. Oberlin College asserts that its interests, as well as those of former vice president and dean of students Meredith Raimondo, have not been adequately protected by the insurance companies.