New Jersey residents may have heard that the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, was the site of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak between June 22 and July 15. The hotel's general manager and the companies that own and maintain the hotel are now facing a lawsuit from a 67-year-old professional photographer who contracted the disease while photographing a conference there.
The photographer is far from the only victim. One of the lawyers representing the victim has stated that 40 other people became sick at the Sheraton Atlanta. In all, there are over 60 probable cases of the disease and at least one fatality, according to a representative for the Georgia Department of Public Health. On July 15, the hotel voluntarily closed. It reopened on August 15 after a thorough cleaning of the water system.
Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection that can lead to fever, chills and shortness of breath. The CDC states that the Legionella bacteria naturally occur in lakes, streams and other sources of fresh water, but it poses a health problem when present in man-made water systems like plumbing systems, fountains and showerheads.
The lawsuit was filed in the Gwinnett County State Court. The plaintiff seeks compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering and more.
Lawsuits like this one will most likely involve the concept of premises liability. Slip-and-fall cases are another example of premises liability cases. They are cases against property owners for injuring lawful entrants through a form of negligence, and because they can quickly get complicated, these cases are usually not undertaken without legal assistance. Victims who want to file a premises liability claim may want to schedule a case evaluation.