Class action lawsuit filed over TB exposure

A class action lawsuit was recently filed in Washington, D.C., by a group of MetroAccess riders who charged that the transit service exposed them to tuberculosis.

For several months in 2008, a driver for the service transported people with disabilities around the city, the Washington Examiner reports.

Ronnie Andrews, a MetroAccess rider, filed the in D.C. Superior Court on June 16 on behalf of other unnamed riders who were potentially exposed.

David Wasser, Andrews' attorney, told the Washington Examiner that at least three of the approximately 90 riders who have signed onto the case have tested positive for tuberculosis. Andrews did not contract the disease.

Metro sent a letter in November 2008 to 762 MetroAccess customers who had contact with the infected driver between April and mid-October 2008. The agency and MV Transportation, its contractor, said that they provided the riders' information to the District TB Control Program.

Wasser was pleased with the actions of D.C. health officials in reaction to the exposure but said that the situation caused additional hassles and stress for an already vulnerable group.

"This segment of the population are people who are dealing with more than their share of life's problems," Wasser said, according to the Washington Examiner.

Some of MetroAccess riders have medical conditions that put them more at risk of contracting tuberculosis and one woman reportedly had to delay a kidney transplant for months as a result of possible infection.