Fellow Passengers Sue TB Patient

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Seven Canadians and two Czechs have launched a $1.3 million lawsuit against an Atlanta lawyer for his "reckless" behavior in boarding a flight knowing he had tuberculosis. "He deliberately got on this plane, endangered our lives and this is very selfish and reckless behavior that deserves to be punished," Nassim Tabri, a 26-year-old graduate student who was sitting one row ahead of Andrew Speaker, told the Atlanta Constitution Journal. Tabri and the eight others, seven fellow passengers and the roommate of one of them, are represented by Montreal lawyer Anlac Nguyen, who filed the suit in Quebec Superior Court. Speaker, a 31-year-old personal injury lawyer, is now being treated in isolation in Denver and said he would never knowingly put anyone at risk. He did, however, ignore Czech health officials recommendations that he not travel after he found out, while in the Czech Republic for his wedding, that he was infected with an extremely drug-resistant strain of the disease. He took a Czech Airlines flight from Prague to Montreal and, on arrival in the U.S., was put in federally enforced isolation in Denver. Itís since been determined that he has a less drug resistant form of the disease than previously thought. Speaker said he was told by officials in the U.S. before his trip that he wasnít contagious. He believes the suit is being undertaken in the mistaken belief that he's rich. "I don't have anything for them to go after." Nguyen said his clients are living with the knowledge they might, in the future, contract the disease. "They do not have tuberculosis, but nobody can say that they won't have tuberculosis either," Nguyen said of his clients. "And that will not be known, not now, not next year, but for many years in the future."