Federal lawsuit filed against Memphis hotel over legionnaire's disease

A couple of Memphis hotel owners, at the center of a legionnaire’s disease outbreak, are being sued in federal court.  The Shelby County Health Department confirmed eight people have gotten sick from the disease at the La Quinta Inn & Suites on Millbranch Road.

The seven page suit was filed in federal court Tuesday.  In it, the plaintiff, Marlene Casas of Orlando, Florida, alleges La Quinta and its owners failed to keep a safe hotel and warn guests of the dangerous conditions.  Casas came Memphis to visit Graceland.

She stayed at the hotel on August 27, 2016.  Sadler Bailey is her attorney and says “The La Quinta Inn was negligent in allowing the bacteria to grow that is legionnaire’s disease.”   The Health Department confirmed the legionnaire’s disease link to the hotel on September 22nd.  Bailey says Casas started feeling sick three days after her Memphis stay.

He says blood work confirmed her diagnosis a week later saying “she went through a three week hospitalization, pneumonia, she was very sick.”

Trending now:

>>SCHD: more than 6,000 people possibly exposed to Legionnaires' disease

Bailey says the disease can be spread through an air conditioning vent and any water source that has the bacteria in it.  “She took a shower, so we have that and then she drank the water...it could have been any of those sources” says Bailey.

Tuesday, we went to the hotel to ask the owners, Minesh and Jagruti Patel about the suit.  They told us they didn’t want to be recorded with a camera and told us to go outside to talk.  We waited and they never came outside.

As of Tuesday, the Health Department says they're working 42 legionnaire’s cases from this hotel, 8 confirmed, 27 probable and 7 suspect cases.

The Health Department has not fined the hotel.  We reached out to La Quinta’s corporate headquarters since they're named as a defendant.

"They can't comment on pending litigation," they said.