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(Reuters) – Harvard University has already incurred more than $ 25 million in legal costs to defend itself against a major lawsuit challenging its consideration of race in undergraduate admissions, which the Supreme Court of United States plans to review.
The Ivy League University made the disclosure as part of a lawsuit it filed in federal court in Boston on Friday seeking to force a unit of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd to cover part of the costs. of its defense against student claims for fair admissions.
Zurich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Harvard, who is represented by attorneys for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, including Seth Waxman and William Lee in the underlying litigation, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The SFFA, which was founded by anti-affirmative activist Edward Blum, last year asked judges to hear its appeal of a ruling by the U.S. 1st Court of Appeals upholding anxious Harvard confession of the race.
The lawsuit accused Harvard of discriminating against Asian American applicants by engaging in unacceptable “racial balancing” to make it easier for blacks and Hispanics to gain entry at the expense of Asian American applicants.
The lawsuit argues that Harvard’s actions violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination under any program receiving federal financial assistance.
The case, if considered by the Supreme Court, would give the court’s conservative 6-3 majority a chance to end affirmative action policies used to increase the number of black and Hispanic students on US campuses .
In June, judges asked Administration Solicitor General Biden for a comment on whether to take up the case, which the SFFA first filed in 2014.
In Friday’s trial, a Harvard attorney, Anderson Kill’s Marshall Gilinsky, noted that the Justice Department under the Trump administration had also opened a related investigation into Harvard policies.
The school said the costs of defending the lawsuit and the ongoing investigation were covered by a policy sold by AIG that had a limit of $ 25 million and a deductible of $ 2.5 million.
Harvard did not say how much it spent, only that its costs now exceeded $ 25 million.
Defense costs in excess of those limits were supposed to be covered by Zurich, but the insurer refused to cover those expenses, which include payment for attorneys, expert witnesses and for the US Supreme Court appeal.
Zurich did so on the basis of late notice, Harvard said. The school disputed this allegation, saying the insurer was notified of its claim by January 2016 at the latest.
The case is President and Fellows of Harvard College v. Zurich American Insurance Co, US District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 21-cv-11530.
For Harvard: Anderson Kill’s Marshall Gilinsky
For Zurich: Unknown
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