A Calhoun County jury awarded a combined $4,500,000 judgment in a case stemming from a hot tub contaminated with Legionella bacteria. The lawsuit was filed against DEVI, LLC., which owns and operates two hotels in Oxford, Alabama, including the hotel at which the Plaintiffs had been staying in May of 2008, the Wingate Inn in the Anniston/Oxford area of Alabama. The Plaintiffs’ employer had sent them to Heflin, Alabama to assist with a debris removal project following a tornado in the area. While staying at the Wingate Inn, the men used the hotel’s hot tub which is provided for use to hotel guests. Both men developed Legionnaire’s disease and had to be hospitalized.
Legionnaire’s disease is an acute pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria that can exist in dirty or stagnant water. It only exists in commercial settings, such as a hotel hot tub, if the the premises’ owner has failed to take appropriate steps to keep the hot tub properly sanitized. Legionnaire’s disease can first present itself with flu-like symptoms, but these symptoms can get increasingly worse and eventually be fatal. Both Plaintiffs were hospitalized in Intensive Care Units where they were placed on respirators. Through investigation and discovery, our attorneys proved that the hot tub had been contaminated with Legionella bacteria at the time the men used the hot tub and that the hot tub had not been maintained properly by the hotel owner. The trial, which took place before Calhoun County Circuit Judge Malcolm Street, Jr., began November 15th and lasted four days. The jury in this case took only approximately 50 minutes to return a verdict.