Posts Tagged ‘communicable disease’

Swine farms and fishing expeditions

Texas lawyers are seeking discovery against hog-raising giant Smithfield Foods to determine whether a swine operation it partly owns in Mexico might have contributed to the death of a Harlingen woman in the H1N1 flu outbreak. “Mexican health officials have found no connection between the swine flu virus and the pig farm. Nevertheless, residents there have long blamed the farming operation for a variety of illnesses, UPI reported.” The lawsuit might seek $1 billion. [Brownsville Herald, May 12]

May 12 roundup

  • Florida: “Law firm is found liable for injuries to client who fell off a chair” [WPBF via Bernabe]
  • Monsanto, known for hardball litigation over its patented seeds, might regret taking on duPont [AmLaw Litigation Daily, earlier here and here]
  • Kenyan man sues women’s rights activists for leading sex boycott that his wife joined [Daily Nation]
  • Notice a “sign this EFCA petition” message in your Twitter stream, about the controversial card-check union bill? Better check out its bona fides [Point of Law]
  • RIAA said it was going to stop filing new cases against music downloaders, but that might depend on what the definition of new cases is [Ars Technica, AmLaw Litigation Daily]
  • EEOC guidance warns employers about violating ADA in trying to cope with H1N1 flu virus in workplace [Daniel Schwartz, Workplace Prof Blog; related, earlier]
  • Cluelessness, more than censor’s urge, might explain that ghastly bill filed by Rep. Linda Sanchez to combat “cyberbullying” by throttling online speech [Jacob Sullum; earlier here, etc.]
  • Buxom British gals claim victory after Marks & Spencer rescinds $3 surcharge on larger-size bras [AP/Idaho Statesman, The Sun via Amy Alkon]

Swine flu and hotel liability

It can get tricky when 1) having swine flu may itself count as a protected disability under laws like California’s; 2) innkeepers are required to report communicable disease to authorities; 3) they must nonetheless avoid infringing customers’ privacy; and 4) they can face liability for not taking steps to protect fellow guests and their own workers. And don’t even think of noticing that a new guest is arriving from Mexico… (via Childs; more on hotels and the ADA)

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.

“Should they disbar TuberculEsq?”

David Giacalone has some thoughts on now-notorious Atlanta personal injury lawyer Andrew J. Speaker, who doesn’t seem to have lived up very well to the Lakoff-prescribed billing of “public protection attorney” (Jun. 1). But see: Elizabeth Whelan, in the New York Post, thinks the pillorying of Speaker’s decision to fly home has been overdone (“Free Andrew! Hysteria and the TB Case”, Jun. 2). Updates: Jul. 8 (some passengers sue Speaker), Dec. 2 (no one flying with him caught TB).