A lawsuit was recently filed against the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease killed one person and sickened at least 11 others (with numbers rising daily). The suit alleges the hotel was negligent in the outbreak and is seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more for the victims.
If you or a loved one may have been affected by the outbreak, here is what you need to know.
What to Know About the Legionnaires’ Disease Death and Sheraton Atlanta Lawsuit
The first lawsuit was filed by Germany Greer, a 67-year-old professional photographer in Atlanta. Greer started to feel weird a few days after he had photographed a conference at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel from June 27 to July 1.
According to USA Today, food and water began to taste strange to Greer before he lost his appetite completely. He then experienced fatigue, confusion, alternating bouts of feeling hot and cold, and trouble remembering his own name. In mid-July, Greer was tested and diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. He was in the hospital’s intensive care unit for four days. He is far from the only case of infection.
Diagnoses and Death from Legionnaires’ Disease
CNN claims there have been 66 other probable cases of Legionnaires’ disease and the numbers continue to rise. One person, 49-year-old Cameo Garrett, died from complications related to the Legionella bacteria. Garrett had visited the hotel for a conference in late June. She died of coronary artery disease, but the Legionella bacteria was also a factor in her death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 10 people who develop Legionnaires’ disease die from complications of the disease. Those who are older or with pre-existing are more vulnerable to the illness.
The hotel voluntarily closed its doors on July 15 after three different people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after staying at the hotel. State health officials and the CDC investigated and found the hotel’s cooling tower and an atrium fountain to be the sources of the outbreak.
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Details of the Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit
The lawsuit was filed in Gwinnett County State Court. It lists defendants as Arepii Sa Hotel and Arden Group, companies that own or manage the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, as well as Ken Peduzzi, the hotel’s general manager.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering resulting from the disease. Over 40 people have sought legal representation so far related to the outbreak. Each person either has a confirmed or suspected case of Legionnaires’ disease and was at the hotel sometime between the end of June and mid-July.
Men, women, and children of all ages have reported becoming sick after staying in or visiting the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel during the outbreak period. If you believe you or a loved one was also affected, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for illness allegedly caused the hotel’s negligence.
Negligence in Legionnaires’ Disease Sheraton Atlanta Hotel Outbreak
The lawsuit claims the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel (and others connected to it) was negligent in failing to properly test and maintain the hotel’s water system. The outbreak allegedly wouldn’t have happened if proper procedures had been followed to prevent bacterial growth.
To prevent Legionnaires’ disease, building managers and property owners should make sure their water systems are maintained properly. This reduces the risk of Legionella bacteria growing and infecting people who visit or stay in the building.
The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel has been confirmed as the source of bacteria that caused the disease, and all reported cases at this time have come from visitors or guests to the hotel.
What to Know About Legionnaires’ Disease
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious, atypical type of pneumonia (lung infection). It is caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria, which can be found naturally in freshwater. Legionella bacteria grow best in environments with warm water, such as hot water tanks, plumbing, cooling towers, showers, and hot tubs or pools.
Most people get sick with Legionnaires’ disease after breathing in mist or steam from water contaminated with Legionella bacteria. It cannot be contracted from person to person. Contaminated water is a sign that the area has not been cleaned and disinfected properly. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, cases of Legionella exposure have risen in Georgia in recent years.
Legionnaires’ disease can include symptoms like:
- High fever
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nausea or diarrhea
Symptoms can show up anywhere from two days to around 10 days after exposure. Anyone can develop the disease, although who smoke, have weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease, or are over 50 years old are at increased risk.
If you develop symptoms of the disease, especially if you have recently been away from home or in a hot tub, see a doctor immediately. Legionnaires’ disease requires antibiotics, and most people fully recover with treatment.
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What to Do if You Think You Were Exposed
The Department of Public Health has reported this Legionnaires’ outbreak is the largest on record in the state of Georgia. We suspect more people will come forward with confirmed or suspected cases of the disease. If you are one of those people, don’t delay getting legal representation.
If you develop symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease after staying at or visiting the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel, especially if you stayed around June 27 to July 15, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for costs of treatment, missed work time, pain and suffering, and more.
Call Us for a FREE Consultation
You should not have to pay for losses from a disease you didn’t know you were exposed to. Don’t let treatment leave you with crippling medical bills as you recover. John Foy & Associates is here to help. Working with us is risk-free, and the consultation is always free of charge.
Contact us today for a FREE consultation to talk about your case and discuss your options. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today. We’re available to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.