Legionnaires' lawsuits released, detail allegations - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Legionnaires' lawsuits released, detail allegations

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Court documents detail the allegations brought forth by 10 families suing the state of Illinois over deaths at the Quincy veterans' home related to Legionnaires' disease.

The lawsuits are related to the 2015 Legionnaires' disease outbreak that left 12 Illinois Veterans' Home residents dead. The disease infected dozens of other residents during that outbreak.

Since then, the IDVA reported four more cases in 2016 and another three this year. They said one of the three diagnosed this year died in October.

The 10 lawsuits were filed in the Illinois Court of Claims, which is overseen by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office.

The office retracted its statement made on Wednesday that there were 11 lawsuits. Officials said 11 came up during an automated search, but they later realized the eleventh lawsuit was regarding a different home and was not related to Legionnaires' disease.

The lawsuits claim the residents named died as a result of negligence and carelessness by the defendants.

LAWSUIT #1 - Dolores French

Court documents state Steven French, executor of the estate of Dolores French, filed a lawsuit on Aug. 12, 2016 against the State of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

The documents state Delores French was a resident at the home and developed Legionnaires' disease after exposure. It stated French had not been seen for a few days and after noticing a odor coming from her room, she was found dead by staff.

According to documents, French died before receiving treatment for Legionnaires' disease.

The documents stated an autopsy revealed her cause of death on Aug. 29, 2015, was Legionella pneumophilia. It stated that an investigation by the CDC determined there were 28 confirmed cases of legionellosis by Aug. 30, 2015 at the Quincy veterans' home.

LAWSUIT #2 - John Karlichek

The administrator of the estate of John J. Karlichek, Frank Mertz, filed a lawsuit on Aug. 15, 2016. The lawsuit was against the State of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy.

The documents state Karlichek was a Quincy vets' home resident and died on Aug. 22, 2015.

Court documents state Karlichek became "gravely ill" on Aug. 20 and was hospitalized with a diagnosis of pneumonia. It stated he died two days later from complications of Pneumonia "as a result of his exposure to Legionella" while at the Quincy veterans' home.

LAWSUIT #3 - Gregory Naas

Patrick Naas, the administrator of the estate of Gregory Naas, filed suit on Jan. 30, 2017. The lawsuit names the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs as the respondent.

The lawsuit states Gregory Naas, a resident at the home, started showing symptoms of Legionnaires disease on or about Aug. 24, 2015. He was then transferred to Blessing Hospital.

It states Naas was diagnosed with Pneumonia and the presence of Legionella pneumophila was indicated through a urine antigen test. Naas then died on Sept. 12, 2015.

The suit claims Naas' cause of death was listed as Legionella pneumophila bronchopneumonia.

LAWSUIT #4 - Leroy Barton

This lawsuit was filed Jan. 30 by Sherri Barton, who is the administrator for the estate of Leroy Barton. It names the state of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs as respondents.

Documents state Barton started showing symptoms on or about Aug. 24, 2015. He was also transferred to Blessing Hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia. 

The suit claims a urine antigen test indicated the presence of Legionella Pneumophila as well. It states Barton died on Aug. 28, 2015, with his cause of death listed as organizing bronchopneumonia and Legionella pneumoiphila infection.

LAWSUIT #5 - Charles Collins

The suit was filed by Sandra Collins, executor of Charles Collins' estate, on Feb. 2, 2017. It also names the respondents as the state of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

The court documents stated Collins began showing symptoms of Legionnaires' disease on or about Aug. 27, 2015. It states he was taken to Blessing Hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia. 

Collins' urine antigen test also indicated Legionella pneumophila was present, documents state.

The lawsuit states Collins died on Sept. 13, 2015. His sole cause of death was listed as Legionella pneumophila bronchopneumonia, documents state.

LAWSUIT #6 - Jonathon John

Records show Doreen Ray, administrator of the estate of Jonathon John, filed a lawsuit on April 27, 2017. The respondents named are the State of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

The documents state John began showing symptoms on or about Aug. 28, 2015. It states a test also indicated the presence of Legionella pneumophila.

John died on Aug. 29, 2015, records state. His death certificate listed the cause as Legionella pneumophila bronchopneumonia.

LAWSUIT #7 - Eugene Miller

Another lawsuit was filed on July 17, 2017, by Dennis Miller, the administrator of the estate of Eugene Miller. The suit names the Illinois Department of Affairs as the respondent.

Documents state Miller began showing symptoms on or about Aug. 24, 2015 and died four days later. It states he also was taken to Blessing Hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia.

A urine antigen test also indicated the presence of Legionella pneumophila, according to the documents. They stated his cause of death was also listed as Legionella pneumophila bronchopneumonia.

LAWSUIT #8 - Gerald Kuhn

Gerald Kuhn's next of kin and estate administrator, Wayne Kuhn, filed suit on Aug. 28, 2017. The state of Illinois was named as the respondent.

Documents claim the Illinois Veterans' Home knew of the presence of Legionella by at least July of 2015 and didn't notify Kuhn or his family. It states Kuhn became ill in August of 2015 but was never tested for Legionella. 

The documents state Kuhn's health rapidly declined on Aug. 30 and died at Blessing Hospital the following day.  It states his cause of death was listed as Legionella pneumophila infection.

LAWSUIT #9 - Melvin Tucker

Court documents show M. Jeanne Smith, next of kin and the administrator of the estate of Melvin Tucker, filed on Aug. 28, 2017. It names the State of Illinois as the respondent.

The documents state Tucker was doing well, according to daily nurse logs, until Aug. 21, 2015 when he informed staff members that he didn't feel well. It states despite daily logs showing he had a fever and notes regarding issues with his lungs, the staff gave Tucker Tylenol and took no further action.

On Aug. 27, 2015, the documents state the staff took a urine sample from Tucker, which confirmed he was positive for Legionella. 

The following day, documents state Tucker became unresponsive and was taken to Blessing Hospital.

The family claimed that during the illness, they informed the vets' home that if action wasn't taken, they would admit Tucker into Blessing Hospital themselves.

Tucker was again confirmed positive for Legionella at Blessing Hospital, according to documents. It states he died Aug. 31 and his cause of death was listed as Legionella pneumophila infection.

LAWSUIT #10 - Thomas O'Beirne

The lawsuit regarding O'Beirne was filed Aug. 29, 2017 by the administrator of his estate, Matthew O'Beirne. The complaint names the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs as the respondent.

The complaint states O'Beirne started showing symptoms of Legionnaires' disease on or about Aug. 26, 2015 and was taken to Blessing Hospital. It states he was diagnosed with pneumonia and a urine antigen test indicated the presence of Legionella pneumophila. 

According to the complaint, O'Beirne died on Sept. 9, 2015. His cause of death was listed as pending investigation. It stated forensic pathologist J. Scott Denton found bronchopneumonia of the lungs due to a Legionella pneumophila infection.

Click here to read extensive coverage of the Legionnaires' disease cases at the Quincy veterans' home.


Below are the full documents provided by the Illinois Court of Claims:

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