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Judge Refuses To Toss Negligence Suit After Inmate Contracts Valley Fever

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawsuit alleging the government was negligent in exposing a man to a potentially deadly disease while he was incarcerated in California could go to trial as early as next year, after a federal judge refused to dismiss most of the case.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess issued his written ruling in Arjang Panah’s lawsuit Thursday.

Panah was sentenced to prison in 2004 for dealing methamphetamine.

He was incarcerated at the federal prison in Taft in 2005 when he contracted Valley Fever, a disease caused by a fungus found in soil.

Panah’s attorney, Ian Wallach, says the U.S. government was negligent in putting Panah in a prison where it knew the disease was rampant and not warning him.

Officials with the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles did not immediately respond to email and phone messages left Saturday.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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