Duke, insurer hope to settle on lacrosse case

From Staff ReportsOctober 12, 2010 

— Duke University and the insurance company it sued to recoup some of the settlement costs linked to the Duke lacrosse case hope to settle their differences within the next month.

The National Union Fire Insurance Co., an affiliate of insurance giant AIG, and Duke have been wrangling over whether the company should reimburse the university for costs tied to the confidential settlements of lawsuits with three former lacrosse players and the former lacrosse coach.

In a court document filed Friday in federal court, Duke and the company acknowledged that settlement talks had been held.

"The parties are hopeful that they will be able to resolve this dispute at the November 4 mediation and have agreed that it is preferable to avoid incurring significant expenses," the parties said.

Initially, the company said it was left in the dark and shouldn't have to pay for any of the settlement costs. It said university officials violated the contract by not telling the company about the settlement until after the fact. The university argued that it was barred from disclosing information because of the settlement's confidentiality clause.

The case stems from rape allegations that an escort-service dancer lodged against three players after a lacrosse team party in June 2006. Before all the facts were gathered and any criminal charges were filed, Duke suspended the team's season.

In April 2007, state Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed all charges against the wrongly accused. In June 2007, Duke entered a settlement with three players.

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