Andrew Speaker: Ass

It would be difficult to damage Atlanta personal injury attorney Andrew Speaker's reputation more than Speaker himself damaged it when, in May 2007, he boarded a transatlantic flight to Montreal after having been warned that he carried a highly antibiotic resistant strain of tuberculosis.

But Speaker is determined to try.

Andrew Speaker got worldwide attention in 2007 after he flew knowing he had tuberculosis. Doctors first thought he had a more severe form, but later tests revealed a less dangerous strain.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention damaged Speaker's reputation and made him the target of death threats. The lawsuit, which says he and his new bride split up because of the stress, seeks unspecified damages and court fees.

It accuses the CDC of "unlawfully and unneccessarily" revealing Speaker's private medical history and other sensitive information during an extensive media blitz in May 2007.

"This is about setting the record straight," Speaker said in a statement Wednesday. "Having my confidential medical history unnecessarily splashed across the world took a huge toll on me personally and professionally."

To further set the record straight, news reports at the time indicated that Speaker had been warned, before boarding the flight, that he carried a highly transmissible fatal illness. A good personal injury attorney like Speaker, who would have some medical knowledge, would know that by boarding the flight to Montreal he exposed everyone aboard to the risk of contracting antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis. Yet Speaker boarded the flight anyway.

According to the Civil Code of Quebec, the period of prescription (the equivalent of a statute of limitation) for personal injury, including infliction of emotional distress, is three years. I post this merely to provide information. Fellow passengers who might have suffered emotional distress because of Speaker's actions should consult a Canadian attorney immediately.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White


  1. says

    You beat me to it.

    Andrew Speaker ought to know that this case will solidify, re-Googlize, and render eternal his reputation as a scumbag of the highest order.

  2. speedy says

    Well, I certainly understand people wanting to get mad. That being said however, one should realize that the media almost always gets the story wrong. If they aren’t fabricating the “facts” they are omitting important information and re-doing the timeline for sensationalism. To anyone interested in this case I suggest they try reading the complaint. Speaker was not diagnosed with XDR-TB before he left. In fact he was never diagnosed with XDR-TB at all. A preliminary test (which can never be used alone but somehow was in this case) showed signs of XDR, or so the CDC says. In reality, there was never any XDR-TB but they can’t really make a huge issue out of MDR. It is interesting to note that to date the CDC either can’t or won’t produce the specimen that they used to claim Speaker had XDR-TB. They say they have lost it. Really? Is that their level of control? By law they have to keep these specimens. Another interesting point is that the AJC reported earlier that year that they found memos that the CDC was looking for a high profile case so they could receive additional funding. Well it worked, they received about one billion for their little stunt. The CDC knew full well that Speaker was going to Greece. As has been pointed out previously, even his soon to be father in law was a TB researcher at the CDC and they have memos which prove that Julie Gerberding, then head of the CDC, blatently lied to the Senate when she claimed they didn’t know until after Speaker had left. We could go on about how the doctors told him he wasn’t contagious(and nobody has ever caught anything from him)and even the doctors themselves didn’t wear masks or issue precautions to him about being in public. In fact after the trip to Greece and the media blitz, they wanted Speaker and his wife to drive to Denver for his treatment. Thats right, drive and use hotels and restaurants etc. Kind of strange for a guy they just screwed over to the world, don’t you think? In short, follow the money trail and you will usually find the truth. A billion dollars is a big ol' money trail. Top that off with the fact that after using him for their gain they released his name and medical information and one can see good grounds for a case.

  3. speedy says

    Another interesting note is that has come to light after all of this: The United States (and the CDC) are members of the WHO or World Health Organization and it is illegal for anyone with MDR-TB or otherwise to leave their country or enter another. The CDC had full knowledge of Speakers travel plans well in advance of his departure. All the CDC had to do was tell Speaker that is was illegal for him to leave the country. Thats is…period. Not, we prefer you wait or we will arrange treatment when you return. No, they absolutely knew it was against the law for him to go. Why did they do that you ask? Well it would have been impossible fo them to make him a high profile caseif he hadn't gone. I know we all like to think that our government and it's officials and offices are above something like this (and most are) but keep in mind that the CDC received more than a billion in additional funding after this case. It was what they had planned and they even stated as such in an internal memorandum. They needed a high profile case to increase their funding. It is however far easier to just call Speaker names and think he is just some shameless individual. The CDC not only knew but they held meetings with him and could have stopped him at any time. Follow the money trail folks.

  4. kate says

    Dear Speedy (aka Andrew Speaker),

    It's interesting (and hilarious) that the one thing you leave out is that TB Andy was told when he was overseas that he might have the highly contagious form of TB and that he needed to check into an Italian hospital to avoid endangering others. Instead he snuck back into the U.S. after flying into Canada because he knew he was not supposed to be doing what he did. He says he was afraid of being in an Italian hospital because he could die. Fine, I understand that sentiment. But he possibly could have killed many others by what he did. He was too selfish to see that and instead snuck back into the U.S. after possibly endangering a whole plane load of people. He didn't want to endanger himself by getting treatment in an Italian hospital. But he had no problem endangering others, did he? Asshat. I sure wish I could be on that jury because he would get a big fat $0.

  5. kate says

    Again to Speedy (aka Andrew Speaker): Answer me this one question please. You say it was OK for you to travel to Europe because the CDC said that the form of TB you had wasn't contagious. However, once you got to Europe and the CDC told you that you had a much more dangerous form of TB that was contagious, why did you think it was OK to board a plane in order to sneak back into the U.S.?????? PLease answer me that because I cannot come up with a reason that would make what you did OK. I also cannot see how you will ever win your case since your reputation was ruined by only one person – YOU. You could have put alot of people at risk when you boarded that plane back to the US. You deserve no money from anyone. But I hope those plane passengers sue your ass off.

  6. Patrick says

    For what it's worth Kate, I can confirm that Speedy posted his comments from an IP address originating in Atlanta.

  7. Speedy says

    No Kate, I am not Andrew Speaker, nice try though. I do however know him and Sarah. I am indeed in Atlanta. Apparently you don't read my posts completely. I know they are long winded at times. If you had read them you would have seen the part about the CDC wanting Sarah and Andrew to drive to Denver for his treatments. Wait, isn't this the contagious, we have to place a federal quarantine on, Andrew Speaker? You seem to forget that his father-in-law was one of the top researchers at the CDC who's specialty was what? Tuberculosis. Do you not think he talked to him? At no point was Speaker ever contagious. Not before going, not while there nor since he returned. This whole thing was set into motion because the CDC had been refused funding increases for TB for the previous 4 or 5 years. They even had a memo which stated that they needed a high profile case to increase their funding. Speaker landed in their lap. As for the"He should have medical knowledge" comment. Please, doctors themselves can't agree on most anything. Speaker is an attorney who hadn't even begun his practice and he had the "best and brightest" doctors who told him repeatedly that he wasn't a threat to anyone. They were right.

  8. Speedy says

    As for sneaking back into the U.S. You got that from the media. He and Sarah didn't sneak back in. They showed their passports just like anyone else. As soon as they got here they called the CDC who told them to go to Bellvue the next day. Again, why the delay? The CDC apparently had no problem with Speaker walking around Italy, going to restaurants etc. Nor did they have a problem with him doing the same in New York. Now why is that? Why wasn't he arrested and taken into custody? What the CDC went on camera and said they did and what they actually did are two very different things. You have your mind made up it would seem. That is ok. Most people believe whatever the media feeds them and take it as the gospel.

  9. Speedy says

    One of the things you won't hear the CDC talking about was the Robert Daniels case. You might recall that he was the (XDR-TB) case that ws locked up in an Arizona jail for months. (the CDC said he had XDR too but it turned out he only had MDR) He was transferred to National Jewish Hospital (in Denver) because of the publicity surrounding the Speaker case. Weeks after Speaker had left, Daniels left the hospital without permission and boarded a commercial flight back to Russia. Not only was he positive but he was coughing etc. and was indeed contageous, unlike Speaker. I don't recall the CDC making any announcements or holding any news conferences warning anyone about Daniels, who actually was a threat. Why is that? Well they already had their one billion in funding approved. If you can't see the writing on that wall then you are indeed myopic. Right now people are flying into our country who aren't citizens and they are carrying diseases like…Swine Flu. The CDC issues no restrictions. People are dying, fast. If you want to blame someone, blame the CDC's top officials for their corruption and lack of moral compass. Oh and by the way, my name is David for the record.

  10. Speedy says

    Last thing Kate, to answer your one question directly. The CDC did tell Speaker that a preliminary test may have shown XDR (a blatant impossible lie) but at no time did they tell Speaker he was contageous. In fact, Speaker asked if his status of being contageous had changed. The response from the CDC was,"No." That is when they told him and sarah to relax and go out for the evening and enjoy themselves before going to the Italian medical facility. I hope this clears up any questions you might have had.

  11. Speedy says

    To the author of this blog. Nice post about making sure everyone gets on the gravy train. Only problem with that is Speaker was portrayed by the media as a rich man with a lavish Honeymoon. What a joke. They got married on the patio of a small Greek restaurant and then went inside and had a simple dinner for 10. They spent the money other couples would have spent on flowers, receptions etc. on airline tickets and hotels. They lost all of that money (I'm sure that brightens your day). Speaker is not wealthy but the media sure painted him that way. Any hope of a future that would earn wealth was destroyed by the CDC and their media campaign. Apparently Canadian law says there doesn't have to be damages, just a, "He scared us. " And I thought our legal system was litigious.

  12. Speedy says

    Again to the author of this blog. You pasted this story from the AP or Associated Press. The story is wrong. The writer himself even did a repost but it wasn't picked up by most outlets. The statement that doctors originally thought he had the more severe form is flat wrong. They knew he had the less severe form and the CDC's fund raising effort said Speaker had the more severe XDR, which, he did not. There are other errors but I'm sure bringing them out won't change anyones mind. It is called the mob mentality.

  13. Patrick says

    Speedy, 60% of this story is my own commentary, and about 40% is from the AP story, reproduced here solely to provide context for those who might not remember. I will let you know that I'm not a fan of Speaker's (I suppose you can guess that, though apparently you can't read my name because you're posting so furiously from site to site), based on what I've read. Nothing you've written has changed my opinion, but you're just a proxy, some guy with an Atlanta IP address.

    If you know Speaker, as you say you do, we'd be happy to host any comments he might be willing to write for himself. He was willing to have a masked interview with Diane Sawyer. We'd be happy to interview him, sans mask.

    As for you, I'm getting tired.

  14. speedy says

    Like you said Patrick, it won't change your mind as it is apparently set in stone. Yes, I know too well that the article you reposted is from the AP. It is also seriously wrong on most of the facts. The reporters name is Greg Bluestein (Hope that spelling is right). After talking on the phone with Mr. Speaker that same AP reporter reposted the article with corrections to some of the mistakes, but not all. That corrected story was not widely distributed. And why would it be? Most people, including yourself, don't care about facts much less if the reporting is accurate. Just look at the media frenzy over Swine Flu. You heard a few sound bites and some edited videos and made up your mind. Yeah we get it. As for Speaker doing an interview with you that is up to him. As for you getting tired of my posts, I'm sure, they are detailed and not pre-packaged into little snippets. Sorry I bored you but the facts are usually not easily explained in a single paragraph and as we all know, peoples attention span nowadays is short to say the least. A confused mind always says, "no." That is why I apparently waste my time trying to explain the issue. Some will get it, some won't. Have a good day, Patrick.

  15. Patrick says

    Speedy, the man twice boarded a packed tube of recirculated, vacuum-sealed air with dozens of other passengers, knowing he had a perhaps fatal, easily airborne transmissible illness. Without telling the airline or the other passengers.

    I can't imagine anything you could say that will change my opinion of that. You're not that good an advocate.

    I am also quite convinced, now, that you're Andrew Speaker. Why not come out and say it?

  16. speedy says

    I won't say it because I am not Andrew. My name is David. You obviously know nothing about airplanes. They are not vacuum sealed. Ever heard of an outflow valve? The only time that is closed is when they are ditching. Aircraft are pressurized by air cycle machines or packs and the air is changed AND recirculated constantly. I am not an attorney but I do hold an Federal Airframe and Powerplant license and that makes me a little bit more knowedgeable than you on that subject. Do you really think that Andrew doesn't know anyone or indeed that only he would be on here? Again, the CDC told him he was not contagious WHILE HE WAS IN ITALY. The pilots on the flight to Denver (DURING THE QUARANTINE)were not wearing masks by all accounts (heresay because I wasn't actually on the flights). Why not? Look, your mind is made up and nothing I or anyone else can say will change your mind. I was reading about your site here and it claims you all are a bunch of anarchists etc. Laughable. You believe everything the media doles out. Say Baaaaaaaah. Sheeple. You can go on here blasting Andrew and myself all you want. It is easier and doesn't require critical thought. Have a good day.

  17. speedy says

    Oh and by the way Patrick, When you go on here talking like you know about TB and how easily it is spread, I would like to know your background. Apparently Speakers father-in-law doesn't hold high enough of an Phd to go against yours. He was also one of the lead researchers for Tuberculosis at the CDC. Speaker was NEVER contagious. Not only did the CDC tell him so but so did his fater-in-law. Do you honestly think that Bob Cooksey (father in law) would let his grandaughter and daughter live in the same house as him? Get real and get a grip. Uggh, I'm done. You're right, you are the man, let us all bow down to your opinion, however wrong it is.

  18. Patrick says

    Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

  19. speedy says

    Yes, I am upset, Patrick. I have seen what this has done to a very nice family. As far as the facts go, they are the facts even if they were and continue to be reported wrong.
    As for the airplane being sealed: About ten years or so ago you used to be able to smoke on airplanes. When that no smoking sign went off the whole back of the plane would light up in unison. That is a lot of smoke. Now depending upon the last time the filters were changed in the recirc system, and the coalescer sock in the packs were replaced, the aircraft had no problem with all that smoke. Try walking into the smoking rooms in the concourses in Hartsfield Airport sometime. Large room with usually about 10 to 15 people in there smoking. It will gag you.
    Aircraft use outside air and the packs take in that air, compress it and force it into the cabin, hence pressurization. The outflow valve modulates to keep the cabin pressure at a comfortable level but rest assured it is always open to some degree and that is a lot of air blowing out of it. If that outflow valve didn't open and release huge amounts of air the aircraft would overpressurize. That is why they have positive and negative pressure relief vales built into the aircraft. Just in cast that actually happens. That coupled with rather large cabin recirc fans which filter the cabin air through HEPA filters is how they handled all those smokers. I will say it again, the rate of air being changed in a modern aircraft is far greater than any home or office building. Some genius just pulled the whole "aircraft being a closed air environment" thing out of their butt. Sure, if you don't know how they operate you might think so, the problem is most people have no clue. You now know more about cabin pressurization than 99.9 percent of the public.


  1. […] Atlanta lawyer Andrew Speaker says the Centers for Disease Control invaded his privacy during the 2007 cause celebre over Speaker's having taken an international flight while suffering an unusually dangerous form of tuberculosis. [CNN; earlier here, etc.; Patrick @ Popehat] […]