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Anti-Gays Scam Insurance Providers

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2009

Maple Grove High School fought like the dickens to keep its gay students from meeting.

Although the Equal Access Act provides that schools have to allow all non-curricular student groups the same access, Maple Grove thought they knew better.

Their ingenious legal argument? That Straights and Gays for Equity (SAGE) was not a curriculum based organization but that cheerleading, Spirit Club, synchronized swimming, and the Black Achievers all were.

Nice try, but no first year law students would bet that outcome.

New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard wrote, “The result in this case was quite predictable, because to date no school system anywhere in the country has ultimately prevailed in its attempt to exclude a gay-straight alliance while allowing other non-curricular student organizations to continue operating at their schools, and federal judges have uniformly rejected by attempts by the schools to mischaracterize social groups as “curricular” in order to escape the requirements of the statute.

But why did they go to court? And, having lost once, why did they appeal?

And isn’t all this futile legal work expensive? You bet it is. The Minneapolis – St. Paul Star Tribune reports just how expensive.

Osseo schools got hit with a king-size legal bill — $460,143 — in its fight to keep a Maple Grove High School student-run gay-rights group from having the same privileges as other, officially approved, school clubs.

OK. That’s a WOW moment. In this age of shrinking budgets and tightening purse-strings, 460 grand is a lot of money to me. But it didn’t cause the School Board to blink.

Asked about the legal fees, [Osseo schools spokeswoman Barbara] Olson replied:

“The district must pay those costs. It just so happens that all the costs are being reimbursed by our insurance.”

That’s right.

The school can go through nearly a half-million dollars on a lawsuit it knows it’s going to lose, all for nothing other than spiting its gay students. Because it’s insured and if it causes all the insurance rates to go up, well at least it got its day in court to besmirch and denigrate gays.

It is time that insurance companies cease to be the pawns and patsies of these anti-gay frauds.

They certainly wouldn’t fund a lawsuit for a principal seeking to place the cafeteria off-limits to black students or a lawsuit for a school board that wanted to force Jews to pray to Jesus. These are surefire losers and a predictable waste of money.

So too are legal efforts to ban gay students from equal access.

These school insurers need to look these principals in the eye and say, “Sorry, Bub, but if you want to run up legal bills to defend discrimination and bigotry, you’re going to have to do it on your own dime.”

Comments

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elaygee
March 27th, 2009 | LINK

I think that the insurance company can deny the claim as frivilous and stick the school board with the bill. Read the policy details and I bet there is a “frivilous” clause.

Richard W. Fitch
March 27th, 2009 | LINK

The other question that has to be asked is: Are these kinds of insurance companies founded and funded by covert religious conservative groups for the very purpose of attempting to overturn discrimination laws? That probably is NOT in the policy details — still worth looking into I would think.

Attmay
March 27th, 2009 | LINK

Is there any way that federal funding for these schools can be cut off?

David Roberts
March 27th, 2009 | LINK

Any idea which insurance company they use?

Dessertboys
March 28th, 2009 | LINK

The local people NOW see what they have elected into office adn what their money is being spent on. It’s high time they do away with the dead weight of bigotry and personal agendas and the thought that just because an individual has a degre does NOT mean they are worth a damn in practice. That’s what the locals have on their hands now, a bunch of losers on their school board teaching their kids to be bigots, therefore rendering them useless in a diversified world. WOW, and we preach GO TO SCHOOL to our kids. I now understrand why people prefer to home school adn I thought it was for OTHER reasons. What a shame. I hope the insuurance company sticks it to that school board hard and strong. The school board then will see the letters KY can stand for more than an abbreviation for Kentucky. my heart goes out to the kids in this school, they have no leadership…no role models. Just freaks.

Attmay
March 29th, 2009 | LINK

Dessertboys,

I was homeschooled because the school refused to respond effectively to constant bullying, which was not even gay-related and went on for years. Had it not been for that option I would have had to drop out of high school.

Insurance Agent
March 30th, 2009 | LINK

The school district may be self insured or Richard Fitch’s theory may have some substance to it. There are plenty of insurance companies owned by old farts with agendas, and word of mouth from one creepy school to another would spread quickly.

The black segregation scenario would not be covered as a direct result of the civil rights movement, but I’m sure it was covered and paid out prior to the movement. Now there is specific wording excluding civil rights breaches.

Most insurance companies would not exclude this as a frivilous lawsuit just to avoid getting sued by the school for doing so.

But, when we allow a company to defend us, we give up the right to defend outselves. This keeps the control in the hands of the company. As an example, my company recently paid $50,000 on a 3mph no-injury claim to avoid a lawsuit. If I had my say, I’d have paid the claimant no more than $1,000 and would have spent any amount to defend because its the right thing to do. As the defendent I feel pretty strongly about that – pretty emotional. That’s exactly what insurance companies seek to avoid. If they go around defending what’s right all the time, gone would be the frivilous lawsuit, but the companies would not enjoy their high profits.

So, if the school gives its right to defend to the insurance company, but then refuses to abide by the company’s determination (let SAGE meet, for example) then they would have to be penalized in some way specified in the policy. Some likely outcomes are the insurance company paying for the initial suit but not the appeal, or the company paying a percentage or paying what they would have paid had the insured listened to them, but the school picking up the rest.

So, I would guess that she’s either not forthcoming about sharing the expense of defense, or the school district is self insured or Fitch is right.

One thing, companies do not take kindly to comments like the one made by Barbara Olsen, and I’d be surprised if they had the same carrier next year.

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