Legal Arguments Over Student’s Chinese Tick Illness

(CBS Connecticut) — Legal arguments were delivered at the state Supreme Court today, in an appeal of part of a $41.5-million award won by a teenage girl who contracted a tick-borne illness on a school trip to China.

Cara Munn was on a trip from the Hotchkiss School, when she came down with tick-borne encephalitis.

The illness left her unable to speak, unable to control her face, and barely able to type with one finger.

Her lawyers won a lawsuit against the Lakeville private school.

They argue that the school made a series of mistakes, including failing to warn parents about the risks, failing to take precautions against ticks, and letting a small group of teenagers walk down a mountain in rural China on their own.

But lawyers for the school are appealing part of the judgement, arguing that the risk of the illness was remote, and that such a big payout  would set a precedent that would lead to warnings so extensive, that people would ignore them, the way many patients ignore drug label warnings.

The school is appealing about $30-million of the award.

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