The next case we’re going to revisit, while also involving a hotel, is unique as it involved an external maintenance company and the duty it owed to keep a pool system safe.
In this case, a hotel employee was tasked with manually cleaning out the filter for the pool and hot tub. Within a week, the employee began to feel ill and was later diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. He was the third case of Legionnaires’ disease that could be traced back to the hotel. He was hospitalized multiple times over a 5-month period as a result of his diagnosis. Both his ongoing physical symptoms and his psychological symptoms related to his fear of falling ill again as a result of his job prevented him from returning to work.
While hotel employees, including our client, were tasked with maintaining the pool and hot tub, the hotel also received maintenance support through an external company. This company installed a remote-monitoring system in the pool facility which would measure the level of chemicals in the pool and hot tub water and dispense certain chemicals as needed. The company would also notify the hotel if the chemical balance in the pool or hot tub was off.
In the period leading up to our client’s exposure, the maintenance company sent over 500 alerts to the hotel noting problems with the chemical balance of the water in the pool and hot tub. There were also problems with the controller the company installed at the hotel during this period. The chemical imbalance at issue made the pool and hot tub systems ripe for the growth of legionella bacteria.
A central issue in this case was whether the maintenance company owed a duty to our client. The court found that the company did in fact have a duty and through their actions created an unreasonable risk of a foreseeable injury to our client as one who was present near the pool and hot tub. The court noted that the company knew of the various issues with the water at the hotel but failed to personally reach out to the hotel to let them know and help them remedy the issues. Because the company had a duty, they were then open to potential liability resulting from foreseeable injuries.
In part because of the finding of this duty, prior to making it trial, we were able to secure a sizable settlement for our client from the maintenance company to compensate him for his injuries.
THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.