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Brain-damaged woman was awarded $41.7 million

A Connecticut jury has awarded $41.7 million to a New York woman left brain-damaged and unable to speak properly after contracting a tick-borne illness while on a school-supervised trip to China.

Encephalitis is an acute inflammation of the brain that can be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. In serious cases of the disease, symptoms can include seizures, hallucinations, memory loss, and permanent neurological damage.

Munn's attorneys, who argued the school failed to ensure that its traveling students take sufficient precautions against ticks.

The Hotchkiss School, which is appealing the jury award, disputes claims it was negligent and argued that Tick-Borne Encephalitis is so rare, it should not have been expected to warn Munn about protecting herself from it.

Everyone has a duty not to carelessly or purposely harm others. Professionals, such as doctors, pharmacists, nurses and lawyers, even institutions like schools owe a heightened duty of care to the people in their care. If the duty is breached and as a result the person suffers a loss or injury, the professional or institution may be held liable for damages.

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