Board of Education of Township High School District No. 211 v. International Insurance Co.
Illinois Appellate Court
720 N.E.2d 622 (1999)
International Insurance Company (International) (defendant) insured the Board of Education of Township High School District No. 211 (board) (plaintiff) against all risks of physical loss or damage to the board’s real or personal property. After discovering that its schools contained friable asbestos that was releasing toxic fibers into the air, the board spent millions of dollars to comply with a state law requiring the removal of such toxic substances. International denied the board’s claim for reimbursement of the removal costs. The board sued for a declaratory judgment to enforce International’s policy. International based its defense on a New Mexico case upholding an insurer’s refusal to indemnify a company that discovered and removed asbestos from its building. The New Mexico court held that (1) asbestos contamination diminished the building’s value but did not constitute direct physical loss or damage within the scope of coverage and (2) any diminution in value occurred when the asbestos was first installed and not when it was discovered or removed. After the trial court entered summary judgment for International, the board appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (O’Brien, J.)
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