In a recent retrial, a New York jury found a spa pump company liable for $15.2 million in a 1994 cruise ship disease outbreak, down from its prior amount of $47.6 million.
Essef Corp., a subsidiary of Pentair Inc., made a spa pump that was linked to an outbreak of Legionnaire?s disease on a ship in 1994, resulting in one fatality. It must pay Celebrity Cruises $15.2 million for profits lost by the cruise ship company.
The pump did not properly backwash and caused Legionella pneumophila bacteria to breed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Celebrity had to dock in mid-voyage in Bermuda and send passengers back to New York.
Celebrity, now owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in Miami, sued Essef for damages, including negative press that may have hurt its profits. Pentair acquired Essef in August 1999 just prior the lawsuit.
Final judgment has not yet been entered, and Pentair said it is studying the verdict to consider future action. This could involve post-trial motions or even an appeal to the Second Circuit Court.
The retrial was ordered in January 2007 after Essef was found liable for $47.6 million in lost profits for Celebrity. The court also granted the defendant?s appeal for a new trial. Pentair did not contest the $10.4 million for Celebrity?s out-of-pocket expenses.