Suit blames downstate hotel for Gilberts man's death

The family of a Gilberts man is suing a central Illinois hotel, claiming he died in 2013 after contracting Legionnaires' disease from a therapy pool he used there about six years earlier.

Dale C. Larson, 62, owner and operator of a landscaping business for more than three decades, died Jan. 12, 2013 from complications of the disease, according to a lawsuit filed late last month in Kane County.

The lawsuit accuses the staff at The Hampton Inn East Peoria at the Riverboat of negligence in maintaining the therapy pool Larson used to help his ailing back in December 2007. The suit seeks unspecified damages for wrongful death.

"Dale ingested, consumed by absorption, or was otherwise exposed to the legionella bacteria in the Therapy Tub or the plumbing connected thereto," reads part of the lawsuit. "Dale's history of Legionnaires' disease with cerebral infarction was a significant factor that contributed to his death."

The lawsuit also argues that the hotel staff failed to comply with the Illinois Swimming Pools and Bathing Beach Act and did not properly chlorinate the therapy pool.

The hotel breached its duty by offering a therapy tub under the guise of providing a medical need when it did not have a license to provide medical care or physical or occupational therapy, according to the suit.

Larson's wife complained to the staff that the tub's water temperature was lukewarm, and the hotel staff said the tub needed to be serviced, but was safe for patrons, the suit states.

A message left with the hotel's general manager was not immediately returned. Thomas Dillon, one of the attorneys representing Larson's family, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The two sides are due for an initial court appearance March 10 in Kane County.

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