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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

Asbestos Litigation

NACUBO has been involved in pursuing reimbursement for costs of asbestos abatement for colleges and universities since the mid-1980s. In 1987, NACUBO and the American Council on Education joined with a group of institutions to sponsor a class action suit against asbestos companies (Central Wesleyan v. W.R. Grace, that was filed in the U.S. District Court in South Carolina.

The end of this lengthy legal action is in sight with over $60 million in settlements held in escrow for distribution to colleges and universities as partial reimbursement for expenses incurred for asbestos abatement work. A steering committee appointed by the court, which includes a NACUBO representative, worked with class counsel to design a claims process that is fair and equitable while imposing as little burden on institutions as possible. In October 2009, the court approved an initial distribution of $62.2 million to 410 eligible institutions. This represents reimbursement for 15 percent of eligible asbsetos abatement expenses.

Possible future settlements in connection with additional bankruptcies and resolution of some outstanding issues concerning the taxability of the settlement fund may result in a second round of payments to eligible institutions sometime in 2010 or 2011.

The window for filing claims was open from September 15, 2005, until March 15, 2006, and again briefly in early 2008. No additional claims will be accepted.

Rebate Coupons Also Available

In addition to the settlement money awaiting disbursement, more than $25 million in product credit rebates are available. Rebate coupons are available to colleges and universities interested in purchasing discounted replacement products. These coupons provide a 25-percent discount on W. R. Grace's spray acoustical products and its replacement non-asbestos spray fireproofing. If your institution has not received a coupon from class counsel, or needs additional coupons, contact the class counsel's office.


Anne Gross
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs