Source: http://www.seacoastonline.com, November 23, 2018
By: Max Sullivan
Three more lawsuits have been filed against a Hampton Beach hotel identified by state officials as a likely source of a Legionnaire’s disease outbreak this summer.
The suits were filed this past Tuesday in Rockingham Superior Court by three plaintiffs from Massachusetts, bringing the total number of suits faced by the Sands Resort at Ashworth Avenue to four since September. The suits allege the hotel’s spas and water system carried water infected by Legionella bacteria, causing the plaintiffs to be hospitalized with Legionnaire’s disease in the days after their stays at the resort this summer.
A cluster of Legionnaire’s disease cases was identified by state health officials in August, and the number of cases grew to 19, one of those being fatal. Health officials, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have said the Sands was a likely source of the outbreak after testing water there and other parts of the beach.
The suits were filed by Nicole Murphy, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, Kathleen Foley, of Monson, Massachusetts, and Bruce Chester, of Gardner, Massachusetts. Those three join Louise M. Pare, also of Gardner, and Celeste M. Billington of Templeton, Massachusetts, who filed suit against the Sands Sept. 7. All four of those suing the Sands were represented by the Manchester-based Bussiere & Bussiere, P.A.
The plaintiffs allege they stayed at the hotel this summer and contracted Legionnaire’s disease while there, then were hospitalized and diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease shortly after their stay. The disease, a form of pneumonia, can only be contracted by breathing water particles containing Legionella bacteria, not physical touch or by drinking the water.
Murphy claimed in her suit she stayed at the Sands in June, Foley and Chester in August. Their suits all state they spent time around the Sands’ spa area and used the showers, faucets and other potable water systems that carried water infected with Legionella. Hot tubs are considered likely sources of Legionella since they produce a mist, and the Sands ownership have said they are closing their hot tub permanently in the wake of the Legionnaire’s outbreak.
The defendants in the three new suits are listed as the Sands Resort Management Co., Inc., Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas and Sands Hotel Realty Trust trustees Thomas Saab, Edward Saab and Leonard J. Samia. The suits claim the parties were negligent in their maintenance and inspection of their facilities, allegedly allowing Legionella bacteria to grow in the water. They also allege contracts between the plaintiffs and the Sands management company, which ensured guests would be safe during their stay, were violated by the presence of the bacteria.
Thomas Saab, who has spoken publicly for the Sands since the outbreak, declined to comment on the newly filed suits this week. He has argued the Sands water supply could not have been the only source of Legionella on the beach and that the Sands water has since been cleaned of the bacteria.