Tort Law

Lawyer Who Traveled While Infected with TB Sues CDC

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The Atlanta lawyer who caused an international scare by traveling while infected with tuberculosis has sued federal officials for publicizing his condition.

Lawyer Andrew Speaker alleges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention invaded his privacy, harming his reputation and leading to the breakup of his marriage, CNN reports. Speaker says he and his wife split up after the wedding but before they filed the marriage license.

The CDC released details of Speaker’s identity and medical history in 2007 and said he had taken an international flight while infected with a drug-resistant form of TB, the suit says. Speaker claims CDC officials knew he was planning to travel to Greece for his wedding and had told him he was not contagious, but never disclosed those details to the public.

Speaker says he contacted the CDC after its initial press conference, and it told him he could not take a commercial flight home. Because he could not afford a chartered flight, Speaker says he flew to Canada, where there was no restriction on flying, and drove to a New York hospital, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Speaker’s doctors later determined he had a less serious form of TB. He was successfully treated and released. Passengers on Speaker’s flights were tested for TB; none had the disease.

The suit was filed yesterday in federal court in Atlanta. “Speaker became the object of unwanted public attention, including expressions of public scorn and contempt (including death threats) due to the inaccurate light in the information presented, resulting in so much strain on his marital relationship that he and his new bride parted ways,” the suit says.

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