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Special Administrator for Victim of Legionnaire's Disease Sues Marriott International

Wrongful-death Suit Claims Chicago's JW Marriott Hotel Responsible for Tourist
Contracting Disease which was Found in Decorative Fountain

By Jennifer Delgado, Chicago TribuneMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Nov. 02, 2012--A wrongful-death lawsuit was filed Thursday against Marriott International Inc., claiming that a downtown Chicago hotel is responsible for infecting an Irish tourist with Legionnaires' disease.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, says Thomas Joseph Keane, 66, was dining at the JW Marriott hotel, 151 W. Adams St., on July 27 when he somehow inhaled "dangerous aerosolized water vapor contaminated with Legionella bacteria."

The disease was found in a decorative fountain of the main lobby that has since been removed after it also infected other visitors.

Keane, who was visiting Chicago with his wife on their 40th anniversary, was later diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease and died Aug. 29, according to the lawsuit. The suit was filed by Lorraine O'Donnell, a Keane special administrator. It was unclear whether the two were related.

The lawsuit charges that the hotel failed to create and implement "appropriate control measures" to ensure that the fountain was bacteria-free and didn't maintain appropriate water temperatures and biocide levels in the fountain. Also named in the lawsuit is The Prime Group Inc., which owned or operated the JW Marriott, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also contends that the hotel should have known and warned patrons of the contaminated fountain between July 27 and Aug. 3.

Keane suffered "great conscious pain" before he died and incurred various medical expenses, according to the lawsuit.

Representatives of Marriott International and O'Donnell could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Test results also showed that the hotel's pool, the spa's whirlpool and the men's and women's locker rooms contained "the same species of Legionella," according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.


(c)2012 the Chicago Tribune

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