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On August 27, 2016, Marlene Casas stayed at the La Quinta Inn & Suites on Millbranch Road, in Memphis; she was here to visit Graceland, as so many tourists do each year. Three days after her stay, Ms. Casas started to feel unwell. Her illness turned out to be Legionnaires’ disease, and it led to a three-week hospital stay, where she was treated for the disease as well as sepsis and sodium depletion.

Ms. Casas is not the only victim. According to Fox13 News, “the Health Department says they’re working 42 legionnaire’s cases from this hotel, 8 confirmed, 27 probable and 7 suspect cases” of the illness. This is a silver lining of sorts, as there were 6,000 reservations in that hotel between July 1, 2016 and September 22, 2016, so the number of people affected could have been far higher.

Ms. Casas hired R. Sadler Bailey, the founder of Bailey & Greer, PLLC, to represent her, and has filed a federal lawsuit against the owners for “failure to remove and or repair a dangerous condition from the hotel” and a “failure to enact and enforce policies and procedures to keep the hotel in a reasonable and safe condition,” as reported by LocalMemphis.com. Mr. Bailey has experience handling complex outbreak cases like these; he was involved in the cases stemming from an outbreak at the 24 Hour Fitness on Ridgeway Road back in 2013.

We invite you to watch this video of Mr. Bailey, who was interviewed by News Channel 3 about the most recent outbreak.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines Legionnaires’ disease as a serious form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria; the bacteria thrives in warm water, but it can spread in warm or cool air. The CDC explains that an outbreak can occur when the bacteria grows in places like:

  • Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
  • Hot water tanks and heaters
  • Large plumbing systems
  • Cooling towers (air-conditioning units for large buildings)
  • Decorative fountains

People then breathe in the contaminated water in small droplets, like a mist, and the bacteria spreads inside of them. As Mr. Bailey says in his interview, a contaminated air conditioning unit can easily spread the bacteria, and it appears that this is how Ms. Casas – who was not exposed to any other “aerosolized water” during her stay – developed the infection.

At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we advocate on behalf of those who have been harmed or made ill by another person’s negligence. To learn more about our services, or to speak with an experienced premises liability attorney in Memphis or Jackson, please call 901.475.7434 or fill out our contact form today.