Legionnaire's cases prompt lawsuit against Aria, builder

Aria and its builder were sued Tuesday by six guests who claim they acquired Legionnaire's disease there earlier this year and then incurred expensive medical bills while recovering.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs, who live around the country, claim they acquired the potentially deadly disease because of negligent design and installation of water systems. They also claim Aria failed to inspect, repair and maintain its heating, hot water, ventilation, hot tub and air conditioning systems.

"While it is our policy to not comment on litigation, we have been very careful to communicate with each of our guests and reimburse them fairly for any legitimate medical expenses. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves," MGM Resorts International said in a statement.

The luxury hotel said July 14 that it was contacting guests who may have stayed at the property from June 21 to July 4 to inform them about elevated level of Legionella bacteria in several guest rooms.

Health officials said six cases of Legionnaire's disease have been reported.

The six cases made public last month didn't necessarily involve the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit Tuesday. Maureen Wooley, of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, stayed at the Aria from April 24 to 29, while Shane Schuldt, a resident of Tucson, Ariz., was there June 8.

The other plaintiffs -- guests between June 21 and July 4 -- are Jovita Stewart from Minneapolis, Ronald Taylor of Benton, Texas, and Edmond and Gerri Propersi of La Quinta, Calif.

The defendants include CityCenter Holdings LLC, the home to Aria, Dubai World, MGM Resorts International and CityCenter's general contractor, Tutor Perini Corp.

In its letter to guests, Aria said Legionnaire's "usually occurs when someone susceptible receives direct concentrated exposure to the bacteria when breathed in as a mist or vapor."

Taylor and others in their lawsuit said during their stay they used the shower, faucets, and other water systems in the hotel and consumed water.

"The water was, at the time, heated, causing the water to steam, vaporize and otherwise become aerosolized, allowing it to be inhaled and ingested" by Taylor and the other plaintiffs," the lawsuit said.

"Upon information and belief, Ronald Taylor acquired Legionnaires' disease at the Aria, as a result of which he became seriously ill, incurred significant medical bills, endured pain and suffering, and loss of life's pleasures," the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs seek $750,000 in compensatory damages and $750,000 punitive damages on each count of the complaint.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.


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