Settlement reached in anthrax death lawsuit

Maureen Stevens and the government have reached a tentative agreement that must be approved by the Justice Department.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2011, 14:18 PM IST

Miami: The widow of a tabloid photo editor who
died in the 2001 anthrax mailings has reached a settlement in
her lawsuit against the US government.

Maureen Stevens of Lake Worth, Florida, and the government
have reached a tentative agreement that must be approved by
the Justice Department, according to court documents filed
late last week in West Palm Beach federal court.

In her lawsuit, originally filed in 2003, Stevens had
claimed that the government was negligent in failing to stop
someone from working at an Army infectious disease lab from
creating weapons-grade anthrax used in letters that killed
five people and sickened 17 others.

Her husband, Robert Stevens, was the first victim.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed. Stevens`
lawsuit had sought as much as USD 50 million in damages.

Stevens declined comment yesterday and referred questions
to her attorney, Richard Schuler.

A federal judge in West Palm Beach had set Wednesday to
hear arguments to dismiss the lawsuit. A trial had been set
for early 2012.

Robert Stevens worked in Boca Raton at American Media Inc,
the publisher of the National Enquirer, Sun and Globe
tabloids, when he was exposed to anthrax. He died October 5,
2001.

In court documents, the government contended that there
was no proof its actions, or lack of adequate security or
precautions, directly caused his death.

PTI