Condo Association Sued for ‘Legionella’ Contaminated Spa

SAINT PETERSBURG Fla. – A condominium association has been sued for allegedly sickening at least one person in 2018 with Legionnaire’s disease through deficient maintenance of a residential spa.

Itopia Private Residences Condominium Association, Inc. was sued on February 16 by Plaintiff Michael Kellem who is described as an invitee to the Itopia Residences located at 10263 Gandy Boulevard North.

According to the lawsuit, Kellem used the spa facilities during June and July 2018 and was exposed to spray, mist, and water that allegedly caused him to contract the bacterium Legionella.

According to Kellem’s attorney, Kerry McGuinn, Jr., “The physician’s report indicates Mr. Kellem contracted Legionella pneumonia. Some people don’t make it, and they die. This is a serious condition.” He also stated Kellem had suffered from internal injuries and could not work when the lawsuit was filed.

This strain of Legionella can potentially cause internal infections that may include the heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states 10 percent of Legionella cases result in death.  

According to the online Mayo Clinic, hot tubs and whirlpools are hotspots for contracting the disease. So are drinking water, swimming and birthing pools, hot water tanks and heaters, and cooling towers in air conditioning systems.

Legionella can also cause Pontiac Fever which produces flu-like symptoms.

McGuinn cited public records from the Florida Department of Health/County Health inspection reports which indicate the spa violated three ordinances.

According to an inspection on July 27, 2018, the spa had no chlorine, its flow meter was stuck, and maintenance logs were not maintained. Kellem said the inspectors observed no log for the entire month of July and only three entries for June. These were the months Kellem used the spa.

Further evidence in the case will be gathered through the pending discovery process.

McGuinn is an attorney at Rywant, Alvarez, Jones, Russo, and Guyton, P.A., Tampa.

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