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
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.