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Insurer Wins Round in Bus Tuberculosis Case

(CN) - High school band members who contracted tuberculosis on a bus trip may lose their $5.25 million judgment after a ruling by a Texas appeals court.

When the Alice High School band was on the way to the Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park in San Antonio, they noticed the driver, Raul Garcia, coughing.

After the trip, Garcia was diagnosed with active tuberculosis. Several of the passengers tested positive for latent tuberculosis.

The passengers testified that they were told not to open the windows, and that the air in the bus was re-circulating.

Those passengers sued Garcia and his tour company, and the trial court awarded them $5.25 million.

Lancer Insurance Company appealed the summary judgment orders for the passengers, since it would have to cover Garcia for the damages.

Judge Speedlin of the San Antonio-based 4th District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the award, saying the band members did not prove that the "fresh air" button wasn't pressed, or that the infection took place inside the bus.

"The passengers failed to prove as a matter of law where and how the tuberculosis infections occurred; therefore, we cannot say they established the tuberculosis infections resulted from the bus as a matter of law," Speedlin wrote.

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