Stoke-on-Trent Legionnaires’ Disease Victims Receive Substantial Settlement

Specialist Lawyers Conclude Legal Cases Against JTF Wholesale Limited

07.07.2015

Victims of the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease caused by a hot tub on display at the JTF Warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent in 2012 have avoided a court battle after specialist public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell managed to secure a substantial six-figure settlement on their behalf.

The families of three people who died from the disease and 14 people who also contracted Legionnaires’ disease instructed specialist public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the cause of their illnesses and to represent them after the outbreak struck in summer 2012.

Irwin Mitchell issued court proceedings against JTF Wholesale Limited earlier this year in an attempt to bring the final 4 cases to a close and now an undisclosed sum in damages has been agreed for the remaining claims. After JTF admitted civil liability for the claims, the group has now received damages for their pain and suffering, lost earnings and care. The families of those who sadly died have received damages for their bereavement, funeral expenses and other losses as a result of the deaths of their loved ones.

Inquests into the three deaths are also due to be held later this year and the Crown Prosecution Service is also considering whether to pursue criminal charges.  

The outbreak of illness struck more than 20 people in the summer of 2012, with the Health Protection Agency confirming that a spa pool on display at the JTF Warehouse, off King Street, Fenton, contained the same strain of Legionella as those that had become ill. 

Expert Opinion
“Nothing can turn back the clock but we are pleased to have finally concluded these cases allowing those families affected to begin to move on with their lives.

“There are strict controls in place which are designed to reduce the risk of Legionella contamination in public spaces, but sadly all of those who contracted this dreadful condition were badly let down by JTF Wholesale on this occasion.

“It’s important that lessons are learned from this incident to ensure that the risk of any similar outbreak in the future is reduced.”
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner

Delivery driver Richard Griffin, from Clayton, was 64 when he died in July 2012 after contracting Legionnaires’ disease whilst delivering meat to the café in the JTF Warehouse which he visited five days a week. He initially suffered with headaches, fever, lethargy, hallucinations and was then hospitalised after losing consciousness at home, before he tragically died in hospital from multiple organ failure.

Prior to the outbreak Richard was a big Stoke City fan and enjoyed going for long walks with his dogs. His daughter Rachel Griffin, 46, who pursued legal action on behalf of his family has said she hopes that no one has to go through the ordeal which she and her family have in losing their father.

Rachel, who now lives in Cumbria, said: “We’re relieved that the legal case has now concluded without the need for a court battle but we do hope that there is progress with the criminal prosecution case and the inquest over the coming months so that we can begin to move on with our lives.

“The whole family misses my dad so much. He had a great sense of humour and always cheered us all up. Losing him was horrific and to know that he died through no fault of his own is devastating. He was due to retire later that year and was in good health. We just never expected anything like this.”

“Nothing can ever bring our dad back but we just wanted to make sure that justice was done and that there was some accountability for his death. I truly hope no one ever has to go through what we have.”