BRENTWOOD — Sands Resort Management Co. is facing three new lawsuits over an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Hampton Beach hotel during late summer that infected 18 people and resulted in one death.
The lawsuits filed last week in Rockingham County Superior Court follow the first suit that was brought in September.
State health officials have pointed to the hot tub at the Sands Resort, located at 32 Ashworth Ave., as a source of the Legionnaires’ disease that infected visitors between June and August. Sixteen of those who fell ill required hospitalization.
State health officials said Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria and is acquired from breathing in small droplets of water that contain the bacteria.
Results from testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed water samples taken from the Sands Resort hot tub were found to be growing the same strain of Legionella bacteria that was isolated from a patient diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and who reported staying at the Sands Resort, health officials said.
Sands Resort officials have said the water system has since been cleaned and is free of the bacteria. They have also argued that the facility can’t be the only source of the bacteria.
Nicole Murphy of Chicopee, Mass., Kathleen Foley of Monson, Mass., and Bruce Chester of Gardner, Mass., are the latest to bring legal action after they claim they were infected with the disease while staying at the hotel.
The defendants named in the suits are Sands Resort Management Co. Inc.; The Lawrence Group, doing business as Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas of Portsmouth; and Leonard J. Samia, Thomas J. Saab, and Edward J. Saab, who are all trustees of Sands Hotel Realty Trust.
According to the suits, Sands Resort Management and Sands Hotel Realty Trust operated, managed, maintained and controlled the property, including the potable water feature, spa and other water systems.
In her suit, Murphy claims she began experiencing symptoms that included coughing, fever, fatigue, chills and nausea just a few days after she stayed at the hotel June 1-3. The suit contends she spent much of her time in the spa area and was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after being admitted to the hospital.
Foley stayed at the hotel Aug. 1-4 and suffered similar symptoms beginning on Aug. 8, her suit said. She was later hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease.
Chester was also a guest at the hotel from Aug. 10-12 and claims he also experienced symptoms consistent with Legionnaires’ disease before being diagnosed after he was admitted to the hospital on Aug. 17.
The suits argue the defendants were negligent, alleging they failed to adequately inspect, monitor and maintain the potable water systems, including the spa.
The suits, which were filed through the Manchester law firm Bussiere & Bussiere, seek a jury trial and compensatory damages.