And Now, the Lawsuits

Jul 12, 2007 6:14pm

You knew this would happen.  Andrew Speaker, the TB patient who flew to Europe and back after being told he was ill, is being sued in Canadian court for $1.3 million by eight passengers who were on the same flight with him from Prague to Montreal in May.  There’s been plenty of discussion, including HERE on this blog (thanks to all who wrote), about whether Speaker was reckless in traveling with the disease.  His argument, as you’ll recall, is that he wasn’t told he was a threat to others.  From today’s hearing, AP quotes Nassim Tabri, a graduate student from Montreal, who sat one row ahead of Speaker: "At the very first moment that I found out, I was obviously very stressed, very shocked," said Tabri, who slept through most of the flight. "I’m still very stressed out about it. He deliberately got on this plane, endangered our lives and this is very selfish and reckless behavior that deserves to be punished." The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Anlat Nguyen: "They do not have tuberculosis, but nobody can say that they won’t have tuberculosis either," he said.  "And that will not be known, not now, not next year, but for many years in the future, so the pain and suffering that the people have gone through are real. They continue to suffer now because of the uncertainty." On the other hand, there’s this comment from Health Canada: "At this point there is no evidence that any one on the flight contracted TB from Andrew Speaker."  And there is an additional plaintiff in the case who wasn’t on the plane–the brother of a passenger.  "We will admit we are testing the water with that case," said attorney Nguyen. There’s more HERE from CTV in Canada.  You’ll recall that National Jewish Medical Center in Denver, where Speaker is being treated, has downgraded his case.  There are drugs that should work against the strain of TB with which he’s been diagnosed.  So who’s more right?  The passengers, for the risk and doubt they’ve faced?  Or Speaker, who insists he never knew he was putting anyone at risk?  Thoughts welcome, as always.

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