November 4, 2020 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Like the last case we revisited, this post highlights a past client’s case. Our last post highlighted the danger of hot tubs. This post highlights the threat posed by cooling towers – a large, commercial building’s water cooling system. In July and August 2015, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the Bronx that claimed 12 lives and sickened at least 128 people. The outbreak caused widespread concern and weeks of uncertainty among residents. Thanks to the hard work of epidemiologists and investigators, the source of the outbreak was identified: a cooling tower in the area. In cooling tower…

November 13, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As previously reported in a blog posted October 12, 2018, the US approach to controlling legionella is different from the United Kingdom. The UK approach is national in nature and very strict. Two recent examples include a leisure center in Walton-on-the-Naze being criminally prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive ( UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare) for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease two years ago. Another case involved a care home being fined 600,000 pounds (approximately $777,000.00) after pleading guilty to the death of a 90 year old who died…

November 5, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Every case involving Legionnaires’ disease that this office has been involved in has always had the defense attorney arguing that the bacteria causing Legionnaires’ disease is ubiquitous (found everywhere). By this the defense attorneys mean that because the bacteria legionella can be found naturally in nature, their clients should not be liable to pay money damages to my clients. What the defense attorneys don’t tell you is that although legionella bacteria may be found in water everywhere, it only causes disease such as Legionnaire’s disease when the property owner does not properly maintain the water system. Failure to properly maintain…

October 25, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

New York City Council enacted a law in 2015 after a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx. The law requires that every cooling tower in New York City be identified, registered and inspected on a regular basis. The city has admitted recently that it is not sure it has found all cooling towers, three years after the legislation was passed (the city health department uses experts on the street and satellite imagery to find cooling towers). This failure to even identify all cooling towers takes on added significance after one remembers that there have been two recent outbreaks…

October 24, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This office has had numerous inquiries regarding persons contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Often times the person does not know where they acquired the disease. Unfortunately, many times the person acquired the disease from a cooling tower. The cooling tower need not be in the vicinity of the person who acquired the disease,  or  even have been identified by health authorities. Consequently, the person may not know that a cooling tower has caused him or her to get sick. These cases are considered sporadic in nature. On the other hand, when a cooling tower has been identified as the source, as in…

October 17, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As promised, this blog will cover US legislative attempts to control the bacteria legionella that causes Legionnaires’ disease. While many states have requirements as to the amount of residual chlorine that must be present in spas, no state has legislation to curtail legionella in cooling towers than New York. Unfortunately, the New York legislation does not cover the potable water system (showers, faucets, holding tanks, etc.) in a building, or any water feature such as a lobby fountain. This is completely different from the approach taken in the UK as explained in an earlier blog, which is national in nature…

October 12, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

There is no national legislation controlling the propagation of the legionella bacteria in buildings, cooling towers, or jacuzzis in the United States. In fact, there is only one state, New York, that has any statewide legislation to control legionella growth in the state’s cooling towers. Various states have levels of residual chlorine that must be in spas. This haphazard and inadequate approach is very different from that taken by the United Kingdom as indicated in a previous blog. It is time therefore, for Congress to address a national problem and enact national legislation to control the increasing incidence of Legionnaires’…

October 11, 2018 zacherlaw 0 Comments

According to news reports, at least four people were diagnosed with  Legionnaires’ disease after staying at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, was found in the men’s restroom near an indoor pool and in a cooling tower at the resort. Cooling towers continue to play an important role as to how persons contract Legionnaires’ disease, including numerous clients of this firm currently being represented. Cooling towers are a source of infestation because of how they are designed and operate. The warm air from inside the building is cooled by coming into contact with…