Love in the Time of Tuberculosis

Last month Atlanta personal injury attorney Andrew Speaker ignored the advice of his doctors and flew across Europe and the United Stateswith a particularly virulent and drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. (As if commercial air travel didn’t carry enough risks of getting sick!) The case presents some new questions for epidemiologists and for courts. Lawyers are already speculating on new legal issues, such as the legal liability of the government for involuntarily quarantining Speaker, and Speaker’s own liability for infecting anyone who might have gotten sick coming into contact with him on the flights or during his trip. As concerns about avian flu and pandemic flu are on the rise, courts will deal more with the law of involuntary quarantine and willful neglect for the safety of others, making the Speaker case an important (and more than a little scary) precedent.

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