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Hotel sees outbreak of Legionnaires' disease

Texas residents may want to know the details surrounding an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, a form of pneumonia that causes its victims to have chills, fevers, severe coughing and shortness of breath. The outbreak was detected in the water system of an upscale hotel in Atlanta. At least 60 people who visited or stayed at the hotel, the Sheraton Atlanta, have become sick as a result, and one has died from the disease.

The outbreak mainly affected people who were at the hotel between June 22 and July 15. On July 15, the hotel closed down voluntarily and, after a thorough cleaning of the water systems, reopened on August 15. However, legal proceedings against the hotel are just beginning.

A 67-year-old professional photographer who became sick while photographing a conference at the Sheraton Atlanta has filed a lawsuit, naming as defendants the general manager and the companies that own and maintain the hotel. One of the lawyers representing the victim has 40 other clients who are also looking to sue the hotel.

The Legionella bacteria are naturally occurring in freshwater sources but pose a danger in man-made systems, including plumbing systems, water tanks, faucets and showerheads. The hotel's general manager has extended sympathy toward the victims, but whether the hotel will accept responsibility or not remains to be seen.

When a case involves premises liability like the one above, it usually requires the advice and guidance of a lawyer to get off the ground. Victims may face strong opposition against their claim and might need to pursue the case in court if a settlement cannot be agreed upon. A lawyer may speak on victims' behalf at the negotiation table and in the courtroom. A successful premises liability claim might cover losses like medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.

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