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Worker Loses Claim Over Infected Bird Droppings

(CN) - Infected pigeon droppings may have sickened a Texas woman, but she waited too long to make the claim, a Texas appeals court ruled.

Maria Rodriguez worked for the Texas Department of Human Services for 12 years until her doctor instructed her to leave her job.

She had been feeling tired and short of breath, and she noticed that her office building was surrounded by pigeons, which roosted between the ceiling and the roof.

Rodriguez said she felt better when she left the office building. Other employees also complained about air quality issues, she claimed.

Rodriguez' doctor diagnosed her with psittacosis, a bacterial infection that birds transmit to humans who inhale infected particles from bird droppings. She sued the owners of her office building for premises liability.

Duncan Crowell, the only defendant remaining after the others were dropped from the case, argued that the statute of limitations had expired because Rodriguez knew about her symptoms for many years.

Rodriguez argued that the statue of limitations was triggered by her diagnosis.

The trial court sided with Crowell, and the Eighth District Court of Appeals in El Paso affirmed.

"The evidence demonstrates that Rodriguez had more than a mere subjective belief ... that she had been injured no later than March 2002," Justice Ann McClure wrote. "Because she waited more than two years after her cause of action accrued, her claim is barred by limitations."

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