Lawyer in 2007 Tuberculosis Scare Sues CDC

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ATLANTA, Georgia—An Atlanta, Georgia lawyer is suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that they invaded his privacy during his scare with tuberculosis.

In the suit filed last week, Andrew Speaker said that the CDC invaded his privacy by releasing his name and other private medical information to the public media in 2007. It allegedly ruined his name and reputation, his career, and his marriage.

The specific monetary amount that is requested by Speaker has not been released.

The CDC held a press conference on May 29, 2007 during which it announced that a patient with a rare form of tuberculosis, extensively drug-resistant TB which often leads to death, had taken an international flight.

The suit alleges that the CDC did not not announce in its press conferences that the organization told Speaker that he was not contagious and that the CDC knew Speaker had planned to get take a trip for his marriage ceremony.

Rather, the allegedly unlawful release by the CDC released very private and pervasive information to the public media such as “the fact that he had flown to Greece to get married, the fact that he was a lawyer in Atlanta, and most importantly, his identity — none of which needed to be released to the general public in order to accomplish any legitimate public health purpose,” the suit said.

Speaker’s doctors had changed his diagnosis on July 3, 2007 to a less dangerous but still potentially fatal form of TB—multi-drug resistant.

The suit alleges that the CDC had inaccurate information, and that the release of the information to the public caused major damage to Speaker.

“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 after the wedding but before filing the marriage license,” the suit alleges.

 

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