A jury awarded $41.7 million to a former prep school student after a tick bite on a school trip to China left her with brain damage, according to reports.
The Bridgeport, Conn., jury deliberated for eight hours on Wednesday before ruling in favor of Cara Munn, 20, in a lawsuit against The Hotchkiss School, an elite 122-year-old private school in Lakeville. Annual tuition at the school can cost up to $46,775, according to the Connecticut Post.
Munn attorney Antonio Ponvert III said her injuries were "easily preventable," The Associated Press reported. He called for schools to check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for risks before sponsoring trips abroad then properly advising students.
Munn, then age 15, and her classmates arrived in China in 2007, where she contracted tick-borne encephalitis on a hiking trip. She began experiencing symptoms like headaches, seizures and fevers, her lawyers said. The illness left her brain damaged and unable to speak.
The school's attorneys argued that some illnesses are rare and they could not have foreseen a risk. The school plans on appealing the verdict, according to the Connecticut Post.