Baylor’s insurance carrier says it’s not liable for damages as 15 women try to settle sexual assault claims

WACO, TX (KWTX) – As 15 women who reported being sexually assaulted by Baylor University students as they try to settle their long-running lawsuits, Baylor’s insurance carrier is asking a judge that it is not liable for damages related to Title IX violations.

Some of the Jane Does 1-15 lawsuits, as they are called in the lawsuits, have been going on for nearly seven years, as Baylor officials and the women’s attorneys have fought to release school records during the lengthy discovery process.

While the mediation efforts are considered confidential, Dallas attorney John DeGroot filed documents with U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin indicating that the parties attempted to resolve the case in court-ordered mediation on May 8.

The mediation summary says only that DeGroote is “still actively assisting the parties in mediation.”

A Baylor spokeswoman said the filing was made as part of the judge’s planning order. He declined to comment on the lawsuit against Baylor by insurance carrier Lexington Insurance Co.

Lexington is seeking a statement from Pitman that it has no obligation to defend Baylor and that there is no coverage under the general commercial liability and umbrella policies provided to Baylor for Title IX claims, which Jane Does 1-15 confirmed.

Lexington also claims that it is entitled to a declaration that the sexual harassment exclusion covers claims that occurred between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2016, from Jane Dose 1,3,4,8, 9, 10, 12 prohibits , 14 and 15. Also, the Company asserts that it is entitled to a declaration that there is no coverage for claims of injury allegedly occurring outside of the policy periods provided by Jane Does 2, 5, 6 and 11.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys, Jim Dunnam of Waco and Chad Dunn of Houston, filed a fourth amended motion after Pitman filed Texas state law claims of negligence and breach of contract after an appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs could not recover emotional damages. . under the laws of IX.

Pitman allowed the plaintiffs to amend their pleadings to include state law fraud, breach of contract, negligence and gross negligence claims. The judge previously asked Baylor to reconsider its objection to the amended pleading “given that plaintiffs are seeking to amend their complaint in response to an intervening change in the law and not because of plaintiffs’ delay.”

“Furthermore, Baylor cannot claim prejudice in good faith. Although this trial has been going on for far too long, the delays are largely due to Baylor’s discovery conduct, and yet the cases are not yet on the verge of trial,” Pitman said.

Lawsuits erupted in the wake of a sexual assault scandal at the Baptist university that led to the firing of Baylor head football coach Art Briles and the ouster of Baylor president Ken Starr. Several allegations of assault included members of the Baylor football team and a fraternity president.

15 former Baylor students allege that Baylor maintained a discriminatory policy in handling sexual assault reports and failed to properly protect its students. They also claim that these practices have created an increased risk of sexual assault.

The amended petition says the cases stem from Baylor’s “deliberately negligent response to incidents of sexual assault among students and subsequent sexual harassment.”

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