Man sues hotel over Legionnaires' Disease
OCEAN CITY -- A Virginia man who contracted Legionnaires' Disease in Ocean City last summer is suing the Plim Plaza Hotel for $6 million.
Virginia resident Pat Eldon Dent Jr., and his wife, Martha Dent, filed a lawsuit against the historic Boardwalk hotel in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on April 18. The lawsuit, which names Plim Plaza Hotel Inc. and the Hale and John Harrison Partnership as defendants, seeks $5 million for negligence and $1 million for loss of consortium.
The lawsuit alleges the hotel's water system was contaminated with unsafe levels of the Legionella bacteria while Dent and his wife stayed there between July 29, 2011, and Aug. 1, 2011. After returning to his home on Aug. 1, Dent began to feel feverish and on Aug. 10 was admitted to Winchester Medical Center and diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, according to the seven-page complaint filed by Rockville attorney Ronald Karp.
Dent went on to spend six weeks in the hospital, during which he experienced renal failure, septic shock and respiratory failure, according to the complaint. His medical bills exceeded $200,000 by the time he was discharged on Sept. 24.
The lawsuit alleges that the hotel was negligent in its failure to "adequately inspect, monitor and maintain" its water system.
"At all relevant times, defendants owed Mr. Dent a duty to inspect, maintain, repair, and operate the water systems on the premises...in a reasonable and prudent manner with due regard for the safety and health of persons invited by defendants to use this facility," the complaint reads.
In October 2011, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed the Legionella bacteria was present in water collected from various locations at the Plim Plaza. Six people were sickened with Legionnaires' disease; one of them later died.
Legionnaires' disease, a form of pneumonia, typically has symptoms similar to the flu and can develop between 2 and 10 days after exposure to the bacteria, according to the DHMH. People get the disease from inhaling contaminated water particles from air conditioning cooling towers, showers, humidifiers and the like.