BRENTWOOD — As many as 14 people have now filed suit against a Hampton hotel and others after a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the summer of 2018.
Lawyers for several of those who claim they were sickened at the Sands Resort on Hampton Beach met with a Rockingham County Superior Court judge Tuesday to discuss the legal maneuvering in the case along with attorneys defending Sands Resort Management Co. and Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas.
Neither side discussed the possibility of settling some of the lawsuits during the hearing.
When asked about settlements outside the courtroom, Emile R. Bussiere Jr. of the Manchester law firm Bussiere & Bussiere, which represents several of the plaintiffs, responded, “It seems to be unlikely at this point.”
Sands Resort’s attorney, Stephen Schulthess, said it was “too early to tell” if settlements will be an option.
State health officials have indicated that the hot tub at the Sands Resort was the source of the illness that infected visitors between June and August 2018.
The illness is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria and is acquired from breathing in small drops of water than contain the bacteria.
According to a report from the state’s Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, epidemiologists identified 49 people with confirmed, probable or suspected legionellosis during their investigation, including two who died.
Nearly 70% of the patients had stayed at the Sands Resort within 14 days of developing symptoms, and those who didn’t stay at the hotel reported being in the vicinity, the state found.
The resort and Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas have denied many of the allegations made in the lawsuits, which accuse them of negligence.
“We are defending these cases. There are other possible causative factors out there that weren’t potentially fully investigated,” Schulthess said.
Gary Burt, a lawyer representing Aqua Paradise Pools & Spas, told Judge Martin Honigberg that he plans to seek a “quick exit” from the case for his client. Burt said the company made some repairs to the spa on occasion, but wasn’t at fault. He plans to file a motion that he hopes will get his client dismissed as a defendant.