Harvard loses insurance lawsuit because it failed to file a claim on time
They could make this a class at Harvard Law: If you sue your insurer for not covering a claim, make sure you file that claim within the time set by your policy.
A federal judge in Boston today dismissed Harvard University's suit against an insurance company for refusing to cover certain costs related to its defense in the affirmative-action case heard by the US Supreme Court just this week.
Harvard had one insurance policy to cover its costs related to lawsuits up to $25 million and then another policy to cover any costs that went above that amount. Harvard says that's what happened with the affirmative-action case as it was wending its way over several years through federal courts in Boston before it finally went before the Supreme Court.
Last year, Harvard sued its "excess insurance" provider, Zurich American Insurance Co., when the company said it wouldn't reimburse Harvard for any costs above the $25 million limit for legal costs in 2014 and 2015.
In a ruling today that runs just four pages, US District Court Judge Alison Burroughs said the issue was fairly simple - Zurich's policy for Harvard states that any claims had to be made no later than 90 days after the expiration of that policy, which in this case was Jan. 30, 2016. But, she writes:
Here, it is undisputed that Harvard first gave notice to Zurich of the relevant claim on May 23, 2017, well past the deadline.
Massachusetts law, which applies here given that Harvard is based in Massachusetts, says that "unambiguous terms" in a policy, such as a clear end date for a claim filing, can't simply be ignored.
So, Burroughs ruled, Harvard's time in court is up and the case is dismissed.
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!
Oh, how the mighty have
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Who knew whom?
Dropping the ball, or doing someone at their insurer a favor to be returned later?
> Massachusetts law, which
> Massachusetts law, which applies here given that Harvard is based in Massachusetts
It's a little surprising that Harvard isn't run out of a Cayman Islands shell corporation yet.
Adam: Extra or missing clause?
Is your penultimate sentence missing a clause? Or maybe it has an extra clause?
Specifically: "Massachusetts law.. says that when it comes to 'unambiguous terms'... " what? Is there something else that should come before "you snooze, you lose"? If not, maybe the "which means, basically," is extraneous?
Just wondering if I'm missing something.
No, you didn't miss anything; I just wrote poorly. Basically, the judge said Massachusetts law declares that "unambiguous terms," such as deadlines for filing claims, are, well, unambiguous and so Harvard had no excuse for missing a clearly defined time limit.
Hand it in on time, kids.
Even Harvard kids
who know they'll graduate with honors anyway.
Zurich may have won this battle...
But the Biz Dev/Sales person counting on a renewal commission has surely lost the war.
Maybe yes, maybe no
The number of insurers who will write policies like this isn't exactly large.