Law & Courts

School Mold Ruling May Have New Relevance

By Andrew Trotter — October 25, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The “employers liability exclusion” in a Louisiana school district’s insurance policy bars coverage for claims against a school board by employees who allege they have been injured by mold at school, a state appeals court has ruled.

The Oct. 6 decision by the Louisiana Court of Appeal, a mid-level appellate court in Gretna, La., could affect future litigation by employees who work in schools inundated by any mold resulting from Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita, but the case began well before those storms.

A group of employees at John Martyn High School in Shrewsbury, La., as well as a law-enforcement officer who was frequently at the school, sued the Jefferson Parish school district in 2001 for alleged injury and illness as a result of exposure to “toxic mold.”

The court did not describe the extent of the mold, but news reports from 2001 said school employees complained of becoming ill, and the school was closed as a result.

The employees claimed that the school district, which enrolled 49,000 students before it was hit in August by Hurricane Katrina, was negligent because it failed to make repairs, exercise reasonable care in managing the school, and take immediate steps to address the problem.

But the district’s general liability-protection policy from the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co., based in St. Paul, Minn., which defended the district in the suit, had an exclusion that precluded coverage of bodily-injury claims arising out of employment by the school board or performance of duties related to the conduct of the board’s business.

A three-judge panel of the appellate court concluded unanimously that the insurance policy clearly and explicitly designated the district as a “protected person,” the employees of which are ineligible to make an insurance claim.

But the court held that the law-enforcement officer’s negligent-tort claim against the insurance company “remains viable.”

A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2005 edition of Education Week


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts School District Lawsuits Against Social Media Companies Are Piling Up
More than 200 school districts are now suing the major social media companies over the youth mental health crisis.
7 min read
A close up of a statue of the blindfolded lady justice against a light blue background with a ghosted image of a hands holding a cellphone with Facebook "Like" and "Love" icons hovering above it.
Law & Courts In 1974, the Supreme Court Recognized English Learners' Rights. The Story Behind That Case
The Lau v. Nichols ruling said students have a right to a "meaningful opportunity" to participate in school, but its legacy is complex.
12 min read
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William O. Douglas is shown in an undated photo.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, shown in an undated photo, wrote the opinion in <i>Lau</i> v. <i>Nichols</i>, the 1974 decision holding that the San Francisco school system had denied Chinese-speaking schoolchildren a meaningful opportunity to participate in their education.
Law & Courts Supreme Court Declines to Hear School District's Transgender Restroom Case
The case asked whether federal law protects transgender students on the use of school facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
4 min read
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
Law & Courts What a Proposed Ban on AI-Assisted ‘Deep Fakes’ Would Mean for Cyberbullying
Students who create AI-generated, intimate images of their classmates would be breaking federal law, if a new bill is enacted.
2 min read
AI Education concept in blue: A robot hand holding a pencil.