District Says Mold Suit Is Groundless Citing Law That Gives Immunity to School, Attorney Asks Judge to Drop Case

By Meltzer, Erica | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 17, 2001 | Go to article overview

District Says Mold Suit Is Groundless Citing Law That Gives Immunity to School, Attorney Asks Judge to Drop Case


Meltzer, Erica, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Erica Meltzer Daily Herald Staff Writer

When local governmental bodies make decisions, they make judgment calls about which competing interest gets priority. People on the losing side can't sue the governmental body just because their interests didn't win out.

That was the argument presented by an attorney for the St. Charles school district in a response filed this week to a lawsuit by several former and current students and employees at St. Charles East High School. All the plaintiffs say they have had health problems because of conditions at East.

The lawsuit alleges that district leaders were negligent because they knew about the health complaints, architectural problems with the building and environmental concerns raised by previous studies. It also alleges that the district tried to conceal the conditions at the building and forced employees to work in an unsafe environment.

In the response, the district denies all wrongdoing. Rather than address each allegation, attorney Robert Smyth argues that the lawsuit is inappropriate.

"Regardless of what is stated in the complaint, you don't have the right to pursue the case," Smyth said.

The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act protects the school district, he said. According to the response, the act "immunizes public entities and public officials from liability for injuries caused by any acts that fall within their official discretion, even when the discretion is abused."

Smyth cites the litigation surrounding the Chicago flood of April 1992. …

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