Hotel faces 2 new suits in outbreak of Legionnaires
Source: https://www.seacoastonline.com, December 20, 2018
By: Max Sullivan
Two more people filed lawsuits against the Sands Resort, alleging the Hampton Beach hotel was the source of their catching Legionnaires’ disease this summer, claiming they breathed in bacteria released from the hotel’s vents.
Randy Clark, of Brookline, Vermont, and Kurt Green, of North Andover, Massachusetts, both filed civil suits in Rockingham County Superior Court Tuesday against the Sands ownership, as well as Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas, which installed and maintained its hot tub. The Sands is now facing six total suits alleging negligence for allowing Legionella bacteria to exist in its water and infect guests or those nearby.
The Ashworth Avenue hotel is believed by state and federal officials to be a likely source of a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases. Nineteen people were identified as having come down with the rare form of pneumonia while visiting Hampton Beach this summer. One person from out of state died after contracting the disease, according to health officials.
The new suits state Green and Clark did not stay at the Sands when they were exposed to the bacteria. Green, his suit states, rode past the hotel on his motorcycle multiple times during his stay at the beach June 13-14 and walked by on the sidewalk. Clark stayed at the beach from July 23-25 and drove by and walked in close proximity to the Sands.
Both suits state Green and Clark inhaled aerosolized Legionella bacteria carried by steam or vapors from vents at the Sands. They both claim the plaintiffs had symptoms like fatigue, chills, aches and fever, and Clark was admitted to the emergency room.
The suits claim the sickness was “solely as a result of the defendant’s negligence, carelessness and recklessness.” The suits do not name a specific amount sought, only asking for an award “within the jurisdictional limits” of the court.
Sands owner Tom Saab has declined to comment on the suits and did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday’s filings. He has said his hotel has cleaned its water supply of the bacteria since the cluster was identified. The state has also allowed the hotel to remove signs from its doors warning guests the bacteria was detected at the Sands, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Saab has also said the Sands hot tub, which produces airborne water particles that allow people to catch the disease, has been shut down.
Clark’s suit states he stayed at the Harris Sea Ranch, which was also considered a potential source of Legionella bacteria but whose water tested negative for the bacteria. Clark’s attorney Emile Bussiere said no suit was filed against the Harris Sea Ranch because there was no evidence that hotel had Legionella in its water supply.