ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Attorneys for a man who contracted Legionnaires' disease at a downtown Atlanta hotel say that they are bringing a lawsuit over the outbreak.
Attorneys L. Chris Stewart of the Stewart Trial Attorneys and Matt Wetherington of the Wetherington Firm announced on Monday that they are bringing a lawsuit against the Sheraton Atlanta, the hotel's ownership and management group, and other defendants.
At a press conference, 67-year-old victim Germany Greer and his attorneys discussed the impact the outbreak has had.
"Legionnaires' disease is a nasty bug. It is something that once it gets in your lungs, once it gets into your system, it causes all types of problems," Stewart said. "All of our people are still suffering, and it's devastating."
"Over 40 people – we've talked to around 100 people – all got sick in a four-day time period, breathing the exact same air, drinking the exact same water, and in a closed environment. Something's wrong," he said.
Greer, a photographer at a convention being hosted at the hotel, said after he worked the convention, he began to suffer symptoms and started slowing down. When he went to the hospital, he said he couldn't even remember his name.
"My son filled it in and said 'This is not my dad,'" he said.
Greer said he lost more than 15 pounds in three days and couldn't taste or tell day from night when he was in the worst complications of the disease.
As of last week, there have been 12 lab-confirmed cases, including one death, and 64 probable cases at the hotel, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
In total, the attorneys say they are representing over 40 people who stayed at the hotel in late June and early July, all of whom "are experiencing significant health issues following stays at the hotel." That number includes 13 of their clients who they say have tested positive for the disease.
On Tuesday, health officials confirmed the first fatality related to the outbreak. Loved ones say 49-year-old Cameo Garrett stayed at the Sheraton Atlanta hotel and contracted the disease. Garrett's father told the police officers who found her body that she had a history of high blood pressure.
The hotel, which has been closed after the first cases of the disease were confirmed on July 14, was expected to reopen Aug. 11. Hotel managers said it will not reopen until Aug. 15 at the earliest.
"During our closure, we have been working closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health, Fulton County Board of Health and environmental experts to conduct testing to ensure there is no threat of Legionella infection," Ken Peduzzi, general manager of the Sheraton Atlanta, said in a statement to FOX 5 News. "A thorough cleaning of the hotel’s entire water distribution system has been completed as a precautionary measure, including cleaning, scrubbing and chlorination of all water features. At this time, we are awaiting additional testing results and we will complete a review of those results, as will the Georgia Department of Public Health."
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