Stoke-on-Trent Legionnaires Victims Take Battle For Justice To Court

Specialist Lawyers Issue Proceedings Against JTF Wholesale Limited

12.05.2015

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Victims of the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease caused by a hot tub on display at the JTF Warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent in the summer of 2012 have taken their battle for justice to court.

In total 14 people, and the families of three deceased members of the public, instructed specialist public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to represent the group after the outbreak struck in Summer 2012. While 13 cases have already settled out-of-court, lawyers are still seeking to agree fair settlements for the families of those who lost their loved ones and one of the survivors who contracted Legionnaires’ disease.

Irwin Mitchell has now issued formal court proceedings against JTF Wholesale Limited to attempt to bring the cases to a close.  Inquests into the three deaths are also due to be held later this year and JTF’s insurers have already admitted civil liability on behalf of JTF for causing the outbreak. Meanwhile, the Crown Prosecution Service is also considering whether to pursue criminal charges. 

The outbreak of illness struck more than 20 people and the Health Protection Agency has confirmed 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.

All four of the remaining legal cases relate to victims who visited the warehouse in July 2012.

Expert Opinion
“This was a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease caused by problems with a hot tub that was on public display at the JTF premises in Stoke-on Trent. There are strict controls designed to reduce the risk of Legionella contamination, but sadly all of those who contracted this dreadful condition were badly let down by JTF.

“While we are pleased to have settled the majority of our clients’ cases out-of-court, we have now issued court proceedings to ensure that justice is done for our clients and that they receive the full and fair settlements that they are entitled to. Some of the families we represent who lost their relatives after contracting Legionnaires disease have been left devastated. We want to resolve all of the outstanding cases quickly and fairly, hence we have now issued court proceedings on behalf of our clients.”
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner

Delivery driver Richard Griffin, from Clayton, was 64 when he died in July 2012 after contracting Legionnaires’ disease while delivering meat to the café in the JTF Warehouse which he visited five days a week. He initially suffered with headaches, coughing, fever, lethargy, confusion and hallucinations, before he 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, is now taking legal action on behalf of his family and says she hopes no one has to go through the ordeal she and her family have in losing their father.

Rachel, who now lives in Cumbria, said: “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 want to make sure justice is done and that there is some accountability for his death. I truly hope no one ever has to go through what we have.”

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