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St. Charles School District 303 to pay $660K settlement in mold case

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 10:16 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 8:00 a.m. CST

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles School District 303 Board this month approved a six-figure settlement in a lawsuit tied to the 2001 mold discovery at St. Charles East High School.

School board members on Aug. 11 voted, 7-0, in favor of paying the Illinois School District Agency $660,000, plus court fees and interest. The members made a motion on the settlement issue after an executive session lasting less than 45 minutes.

The $660,000 settlement is in accordance with a July 31 ruling in Cook County Circuit Court on a lawsuit filed against the district by the agency, according to the board’s motion on the payment. The Illinois School District Agency was one of the district’s insurance carriers at the time mold was found at St. Charles East, District Superintendent Don Schlomann said.

The ruling was in favor of the agency, which sought to obtain the roughly $660,000 the district collected from its other previous insurance carriers. The court fees and interest that were part of the ruling likely will amount to about an additional $3,000, Schlomann said.

The Illinois School District Agency argued that it helped pay for costs associated with the mold remediation and was due the $660,000 instead of the district. The district contended that there had been additional costs in connection to the remediation that the agency did not cover, and therefore the district should not have to give the money to the agency, Schlomann said.

The agency also sought payment for additional legal costs associated with its lawsuit, but that was denied in the ruling.

“Indications are that [the agency] might appeal based on the legal costs,” Schlomann said. “If that’s the case ... more than likely we would cross-appeal.”

The agency has 30 days from the July 31 ruling to file an appeal. The settlement will be paid out of the district’s tort fund, which is directly set up to help pay for its legal expenses, Schlomann said.

“It won’t affect our expenditures for this year’s district budget,” Schlomann said of the settlement.

After testing in 2001 showed St. East had a mold problem, the district closed the building for 18 months and spent more than $29 million to remove the mold. Some of the personal injury lawsuits in connection to the mold eventually were condensed into one suit, which included a settlement of less than $100,000 to six defendants, Schlomann told the Kane County Chronicle in 2007.

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