In late October, 2011, it was reported that the widow of a National Enquirer photo editor settled her $50 million lawsuit against the US government for the anthrax poisoning death of her husband.
By her suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in 2003, she alleged that the government had failed to secure the anthrax bacillus at a military laboratory. In 2001, Dr. Bruce Ivins, a U.S. Army scientist, mailed anthrax laced letters to media and governmental offices in Florida, New York and Washington, D.C. area. Ivins committed suicide in 2008 as investigators prepared to charge him with multiple crimes, including murder. Investigators matched anthrax spores to determine the origin of the tainted letters.
Anthrax poisoning can occur in humans through the intestines, lungs, or skin. Cutaneous poisoning, often through a cut in the skin, is rarely fatal if treated. Pulmonary infection causes severe flu like respiratory distress. Intestinal poisoning causes vomiting, diarrhea, and acute inflamation. Once ingested into the body, it occupies the lymphatic system, multiplies, and kills the host within a few days or weeks.
Five people died as a result of the anthrax spread by Dr. Ivins.
Damages for anthrax poisoning death would include not only pecuniary damages, but also pain, suffering and the decedent's awareness of his fate.
It is interesting that the settlement amount is not being published. I presume that it is far less than $50 million, but would be in an amount sufficient to compensate the family of the decedent for his horrifying death.