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.
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.