Update: “Quebec passengers sue TB-infected U.S. lawyer”

“The American personal-injury lawyer who caused a health scare after flying despite being infected with a potent form of tuberculosis is facing a lawsuit by three of his fellow passengers.” Montreal lawyer Anlac Nguyen is demanding $C100,000 apiece on behalf of two Czech sisters who say they sat next to Andrew Speaker, and $C60,000 on behalf of a Laval, Que. man who sat farther away. Speaker recently learned that while he’s carrying a serious, drug-resistant and contagious form of tuberculosis, it isn’t the extremely-drug-resistant form originally suspected. (Jonathan Montpetit, Canadian Press/Toronto Star, Jul. 5). Earlier: Jun. 2.

P.S.: For those who are wondering, no, there’s not the slightest indication from the story that any of the three plaintiffs caught anything from Speaker. Update Dec. 2: tests confirm that no one flying with him caught TB.


  • I’m wondering what exactly the cause of action is here? Nobody was infected. Are they suing for mental anguish? $100K sounds like an awful lot for worrying for a few days that they might, with fairly low probability, have been infected with a treatable (albeit sometimes with difficulty, but we’re not talking about AIDS here)

  • We’re to be pleased, because a plaintiff’s lawyer has been sued? Or we’re to be displeased, on the theory that unless and until the plaintiffs contract TB, this is a “frivolous” lawsuit?

  • I’m always amazed at how sincere Andrew Speaker sounds. He tells the Associated Press, according to this video that he was tricked into being quarantined, that he would have come willingly if they told him there was a problem.

    – Michael, for the US Desk at TheNewsRoom.com

  • The adjoining passengers have been targeted by their government, presumably, for being potential carriers, according the article.

    They suffered an increase risk of harm. I love it the defendant is a tort lawyer who will understand this nonsense doctrine.

  • While I wasn’t on the same plane as Speaker, there is a high probability that I crossed him in the hall of the airport while waiting for my flight due around the same time. Can I sue him?

  • I’d say that they’ve got a bit of a case considering how he knowingly exposed people to the risk.

    If we go by the idea of what a “reasonable” person would do, he’s pretty much toast considering the knee-jerk reaction that certain words like TB have.

  • As to Mitchell’s question,


    I would like to see a class declared against this TB tort lawyer tortfeasor, and his tortfeasing law firm too, if the elements of respondit superior apply.

  • Poetic justice at the very least.

  • There has been additional information disseminated by the local media. It seems that the people vacationing in Montreal WERE flagged as potential carriers and had to follow certain procedures that hampered their vacation plans quite a bit (I’m not certain but I think they may have been near quarantined for a bit of time) and it is on that basis they are suing, not only because of the potential risk of infection.

  • Well, if there was actual inconvenience, that’s different, maybe. But I don’t think very many things are inconvenient enough to be worth $100K. Maybe $100.

  • Michael,

    if you spent, say, $10,000 on a fabulous vacation, which was then entirely ruined because you spent all the time in quarantine, and you used vacation time to go (which should be reimbursed), then damages can pretty high very quickly. By the time you include legal fees (the lion’s share of the money), $100K is darned easy to hit.

  • We are to be happy…. A lawyer has been sued by his peers and it is going to get bloody!! I am a physician and can tell you that MDR or XDR TB is no fun. This should send a message…. Being a lawyer does not make you immune to other people’s greed!!