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Second lawsuit over fatal case of Legionnaire’s at hotel

Relatives of an Irish man who died after contracting Legionnaire’s disease allegedly from the water fountain of a downtown hotel filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Thursday.

Representatives for the Estate of Thomas Joseph Keane, who died on Aug. 29, are suing the Marriott International, parent company of the JW Marriott Hotel.

At least three deaths from Legionnaires’ — a potentially fatal form of pneumonia — were confirmed between July 16 and Aug. 15, and the city’s Department of Public Health traced them to the downtown hotel at 151 W. Adams.

A spokesperson for the hotel could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The suit alleges Keane, formerly of Limerick, Ireland, absorbed the Legionella bacteria — which causes the disease — from water vapor produced by a fountain in the hotel’s lobby.

The eight-count suit claims Marriott, as well as the Prime Group Inc., which managed the hotel, acted negligently, causing Keane, his family and friend to suffer greatly.

The family of a Florida man who died after catching the disease during a visit to Chicago also sued the hotel.

About 30 cases of the disease are reported each year in Chicago. The Department of Health confirmed at least 10 cases of the illness and the three deaths from the outbreak at the hotel.

After hotel staff became aware of the outbreak in August, they drained the swimming pool, a hot tub and the fountain in the hotel’s foyer, a spokesman said at the time

Additionally, the Department of Health and Marriott contacted the 8,500 guests who stayed at the hotel during that period.

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