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Lawsuit Filed Over Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak at Atlanta Hotel

— August 14, 2019

An Atlanta hotel was recently sued over allegations it was negligent when maintaining its water systems.

Sheraton Atlanta recently came under fire in a lawsuit alleging the hotel’s negligence in the way it operated and maintained the water systems lead to a massive Legionnaires’ outbreak that potentially sickened dozens of guests. Already one of the people infected with the deadly disease has passed away and the hotel remains closed.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys L. Chris Stewart and Matt Wetherington on behalf of Germany Greer. Greer, an Atlanta photographer who was hired to photograph several events at a “convention at the Sheraton Atlanta from June 27-July 1” was one of the people who fell ill from the outbreak. According to Stewart and Wetherington, they are representing more than 40 other clients in addition to Greer, “all of whom either have confirmed Legionnaires’ or a suspected case of the disease.” All of their clients either visited or stayed at the hotel between June and early July.

A Sheraton Hotel
A Sheraton Hotel; image courtesy of Aral Balkan via Wikimedia Commons,

As a result of the outbreak, the hotel voluntarily shut down on July 15. Since then, state health authorities began an investigation into the matter and have so far confirmed “12 cases of the infection and say there are 64 probable cases.” It is important to note, however, that authorities “have not determined that the hotel is the source of the Legionella bacteria, but so far all of the cases involve guests or visitors to the hotel.”

Named as defendants in the suit are the Arden Group and Arepii Sa Hotel, companies that own and manage the Sheraton Atlanta, and hotel general manager Ken Peduzzi, according to the suit. The suit argues the hotel failed to “adopt or follow a water management plan to prevent the spread of the Legionella bacteria.” As a result, Greer is seeking a jury trial, as well as compensation for damages, “including pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses related to Legionnaires’ disease.

Greer, 67, began to suspect something was off when he started “feeling sick after spending several hours at a time over six days at the Sheraton Atlanta.” In the beginning, food and water began to taste strange to him. Then, he lost his appetite altogether and became delirious. Eventually, he sought medical attention and tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease. When commenting on his ordeal he said, “I slid down pretty fast. I couldn’t remember my name.” He added that he ended up having to be hospitalized in an ICU for four days, and continues to have “bouts of fatigue and trouble functioning.”

For now, the Sheraton Atlanta plans to remain closed as it waits for test results and news on “whether remediation is necessary.” The CDC has since joined the investigation and is determined to find the sources of the outbreak. When commenting on the incident, Ken Peduzzi, general manager of the Sheraton Atlanta, said:

A thorough cleaning of the hotel’s entire water distribution system has been completed as a precautionary measure, including cleaning, scrubbing, and chlorination of all water features. At this time, we are awaiting additional testing results and we will complete a review of those results, as will the Georgia Department of Public Health.”


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