Legal action has been initiated in Staffordshire over a claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak in which three men died and eighteen others were injured.
In August 2012, Richard Griffin (64), William Hammersley (79) and Harry Cadman (71) died within a week of each other due to inhaling legionella bacteria at the JFT Discount Warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent. A further eighteen people were hospitalised from the symptoms of the deadly bacteria.
An investigation into the fatal Legionnaires outbreak found that the bacteria had originated from a poorly maintained hot tub on display in the store, and was inhaled by the victims as the water in the hot tub aerosolized.
The eighteen surviving customers of the store suffered symptoms such as headaches, chills, fevers and coughing; but, for the three victims who died, the bacteria infection manifested as pneumonia and then deteriorated into organ failure.
Fourteen of the surviving customers claimed compensation against JFT Warehouse, and thirteen of the claims have been settled out-of-court. The families of the three men who died have made a claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak and are pursuing their claim through the courts.
The daughter of the first victim to die – Richard Griffin – issued a statement explaining why it was felt appropriate to make a claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak. In the statement she said: “Nothing can ever bring our dad back but we just want to make sure justice is done and that there is some accountability for his death. I truly hope no one ever has to go through what we have.”
JFT Warehouse has already admitted liability for the fatal Legionnaires outbreak through the company´s public liability insurers. The court hearing will determine how much the claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak will be settled for.
The Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether criminal charges should be added to the claim for a fatal Legionnaires outbreak, but will probably reserve their decision until the outcome of inquests into the three men´s deaths is known later this year.