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Two women sue Hampton hotel over Legionnaires' Disease

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 09. 2018 9:36PM
The Sands Resort is one of two hotels in Hampton with hot tubs suspected of spreading Legionnaires' disease. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Correspondent)

HAMPTON — Two Massachusetts women who say they contracted Legionnaires’ Disease after staying at The Sands Resort in August have filed a lawsuit against the hotel and its principals.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Rockingham County Superior Court by Attorney Emile R. Bussiere, Jr., of Manchester on behalf of his clients, Louise M. Pare of Gardner, Mass., and Celeste M. Billington of Templeton, Mass. According to court documents, the woman are seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages, claiming negligence by the Sands personnel in cleaning and operating the hot tub and spa area of the resort, along with issues associated with the water distribution systems at the hotel, resulted in both of them contracting Legionnaires’ disease.

Sands Resort Management Co., Inc., Andrew Escamilla, Daniel Emerson, Aqua Paradise Pools and Spas, and Sands Realty Trust members Leonard J.

Samia, Thomas Saab and Edward Saab are listed as defendants in the suit, which claims negligence and a failure to warn residents of the problem resulted in the illnesses.

Last week, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the presence of Legionella bacteria at The Sands Resort hotel, saying a 15th case of Legionnaires’ disease was confirmed related to the Hampton outbreak. The bacteria, which can cause a sometimes deadly pneumonia, was found in the water heater, an outdoor shower hose, as well as shower and faucets in three guest rooms.

The Sands Resort management team is working to have the water system there flushed. In a lengthy statement released last week, officials from the hotel’s management company said the hot tub there is drained and completely cleaned two to three times every week and is refilled with fresh water. They said they also had a new filter and pump system installed in the hot tub by Aqua Paradise of North Hampton earlier this year.

“We would also like everyone to know that we have estimated that between 3,000 to 4,000 men, women, teenagers and children have been here at The Sands during the month of August. Although, to date, nine individuals who contacted Legionnaires’ disease have visited The Sands, it does not prove in any way that they got the illness due to their stay at The Sands,” the statement said.

According to court documents, from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5 Pare and Billington rented condominium unit 224 at The Sands, spending three days and two nights. The lawsuit claims on Aug. 5 Pare developed “chills” and woke in the early morning hours of Aug. 6 “soaked in sweat.” The lawsuit states Billington also became sick the night of Aug. 5, and both women were diagnosed with Legionellosis.

In the lawsuit, both women claim they sustained damages including “medical expenses, loss of income, severe pain and mental suffering” as a result of their illnesses.


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