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DL cooling tower likely source of all 22 Legionnaires' cases, official testifies

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  • News DL cooling tower likely source of all 22 Legionnaires' cases, official testifies


    LA Times: Disneyland cooling tower was likely source of all 22 Legionnaires' cases, official testifies

    A cooling tower at Disneyland was the likely source for all 22 cases in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak last year near the theme park, an Orange County health official testified Tuesday.

    Most of those who fell ill visited the park in the fall of 2017. Disneyland has denied it was the source, pointing to three infected people who had been in Anaheim but not at Disneyland. One of them died.

    Dr. Matthew Zahn, medical director for epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency, told an appeals board judge at the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those three people were in nursing homes in Anaheim. He said health workers visited the nursing homes and determined there were no likely sources of the Legionella bacteria there.

    Tests around the time of the outbreak showed high levels of Legionella bacteria in two of Disneyland’s cooling towers, which likely spread contaminated droplets to people in the park, Zahn said. The medical director said he concluded the three nursing home patients were probably sickened by Disneyland as well, because water infected with Legionella bacteria “can spread two to four miles.”

    Zahn pointed out that cooling towers — part of an air-conditioning system that releases mist — are the most common source of Legionnaires’ outbreaks.

    Disneyland cooling tower #4 had very high levels of Legionella bacteria when people began to fall sick, Zahn said. Once it was sanitized, Legionnaires’ infections appeared to cease, he added.

    “Most likely those cases were related to a common exposure,” Zahn said. “Cooling tower #4 was the most likely source of exposure.”...

    ...In March, the Cal-OSHA cited and fined Disneyland $33,000 for failing to properly clean cooling equipment linked to the outbreak and other related violations.

    The agency investigates only hazards that endanger workers, so its findings focus on how three Disneyland employees were infected and does not address the 19 non-employees sickened.

    Disneyland is appealing the citation at a two-day hearing in West Covina that began Tuesday. Christopher Merrill, the Cal-OSHA administrative law judge, will rule within 60 days.

    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 12-04-2018, 09:16 PM.
    "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
    it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
    together with every variety of recreation and fun,
    designed to appeal to everyone."

    - Walt Disney

    "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
    - Michael Eisner

    "It's very symbiotic."
    - Bob Chapek

  • #2
    NOT ONE-But two cooling towers !
    Legionella bacteria becomes air born.........
    This news not surprising me.......except it was, lot worst ....than we though !
    failing to properly clean cooling equipment linked to the outbreak and other related violations.
    This is not looking good , for Disney ...........
    Legionnaires disease can kill people. Disney really needs to tighten up ship.
    Either way they will be settling multiple lawsuits now.
    Cutting corners, whether intentional or otherwise, doesn't pay.
    Last edited by Eagleman; 12-04-2018, 09:56 PM.
    Soaring like an EAGLE !

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Eagleman View Post
      NOT ONE-But two cooling towers !
      Legionella bacteria becomes air born.........
      This news not surprising me.......except it was, lot worst ....than we though !
      failing to properly clean cooling equipment linked to the outbreak and other related violations.
      This is not looking good , for Disney ...........
      Legionnaires disease can kill people. Disney really needs to tighten up ship.
      Either way they will be settling multiple lawsuits now.
      Cutting corners, whether intentional or otherwise, doesn't pay.
      The first step to cleaning up one's act is admitting it needs to be cleaned up. Unfortunately, as the article shows, Disney remains firmly in denial that they were at fault.
      "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
      it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
      together with every variety of recreation and fun,
      designed to appeal to everyone."

      - Walt Disney

      "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
      - Michael Eisner

      "It's very symbiotic."
      - Bob Chapek

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post

        The first step to cleaning up one's act is admitting it needs to be cleaned up. Unfortunately, as the article shows, Disney remains firmly in denial that they were at fault.
        This is really more a matter of whether Disney followed the standardized practice for decontamination or not. If they were correctly following all stated recommendations, I can't see how any form of negligence could be assumed.

        Although I also see to remember early on in this process that it was stated that Disney had actually hired a third party to come and do the work of cleaning the towers, and the third party company provided the records that the work was done. It would really be a shame if that company didn't do the work they stated they had performed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MrLiver View Post

          This is really more a matter of whether Disney followed the standardized practice for decontamination or not. If they were correctly following all stated recommendations, I can't see how any form of negligence could be assumed.

          Although I also see to remember early on in this process that it was stated that Disney had actually hired a third party to come and do the work of cleaning the towers, and the third party company provided the records that the work was done. It would really be a shame if that company didn't do the work they stated they had performed.
          Even for a contortionist like you, Liver, this is one you can't worm away from. 3rd party or not, Disney is solely responsible for the work, that's the way it is in any contracted work. You can't throw your hands in the air and claim no responsibility.

          Ignorance is not a defense.

          "...In March, the Cal-OSHA cited and fined Disneyland $33,000 for failing to properly clean cooling equipment linked to the outbreak and other related violations."
          “Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them
          so many years of our own lives.”


          DL Trips: '58, '59, '61, '65, '66, '67, '68x2, '69x2, '70x2, '71x2, '73x2, '74x2, '75x2, '76x2, '77, '78,x2, '79x2, '80x2, '81, '82, '83, '88, '89x3, '90x2, '91, '93, '94, '95x2, '96, '97, '98x4, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07x2, '08, '09x2, '10, '11, '13
          WDW Trips: '81
          EPCOT Trips: '93
          Tokyo DL Trips: '86

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by stovk View Post
            Even for a contortionist like you, Liver, this is one you can't worm away from. 3rd party or not, Disney is solely responsible for the work, that's the way it is in any contracted work. You can't throw your hands in the air and claim no responsibility.
            Sure as far as OSHA is concerned, Disney would be the one fined. But the third party would still be responsible for any fees and penalties Disney incurred due to the vendor's negligence and fraud.
            Last edited by MrLiver; 12-05-2018, 07:02 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Bottom Line.....matter if there was a third party -Disney is solely responsible , whether intentional or otherwise !
              We going really know ........
              Disneyland is appealing the citation at a two-day hearing in West Covina that began Tuesday. Christopher Merrill, the Cal-OSHA administrative law judge, will rule within 60 days.
              At this point, it does not look good for Disney !
              Last edited by Eagleman; 12-05-2018, 08:14 AM.
              Soaring like an EAGLE !

              Comment


              • #8
                Third party or not, DISNEY is responsible for making sure that the park is safe. Period. The buck stops with them. There is just no excuse for this. This is California, not some third world remote village. Water quality (drinking or cooling water) should not be something that park goers and employees should have to worry about. Disney trying to lawyer-weasel their way out of responsibility is just disgraceful.
                DL Trips: '78, '84, '89, '90, '91, '96, '03, '06, '07(x2), '08, '10(x2), '12, '14, '15, '16, '17, '18
                DW Trips: '08
                International parks: Some day...

                Comment


                • #9
                  From a legal standpoint in a civil suit, if this fine stands it will be Disney that will be liable whether or not they had a third party doing the work. Disney could then sue the third party to claim damages, but sickened claimants can and will sue Disney first and unless I'm mistaken, and the courts will almost certainly allow Disney to be sued. Disney hired the contractor, but the responsibility lies with Disney ultimately

                  This is the reason they are vigorously fighting the tiny penalty of 33k. It opens them up to MILLIONS in civil litigation considering negligence is subject to punitive damages and puni's aren't tax deductible.

                  I doubt it would get to a trial, jury awards can be ridiculously over the top and the cost of the trials alone would be enormous. Disney would likely settle somewhere in the mid to high 7's for those who died and prob mid 6's to low 7 for those sickened depending on how egregious their negligence.

                  It will be expensive.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Golden Zephyr View Post
                    From a legal standpoint in a civil suit, if this fine stands it will be Disney that will be liable whether or not they had a third party doing the work. Disney could then sue the third party to claim damages, but sickened claimants can and will sue Disney first and unless I'm mistaken, and the courts will almost certainly allow Disney to be sued. Disney hired the contractor, but the responsibility lies with Disney ultimately

                    This is the reason they are vigorously fighting the tiny penalty of 33k. It opens them up to MILLIONS in civil litigation considering negligence is subject to punitive damages and puni's aren't tax deductible.

                    I doubt it would get to a trial, jury awards can be ridiculously over the top and the cost of the trials alone would be enormous. Disney would likely settle somewhere in the mid to high 7's for those who died and prob mid 6's to low 7 for those sickened depending on how egregious their negligence.

                    It will be expensive.
                    I was wondering why Disney is making a big deal in the 1st place.

                    I'm getting the vibe that someone or a group of people in current management(not necessarily Chapek) are going rogue against Anaheim. First, it was the Salary Increase/Expansion debacle. Now this. This doesn't bode well.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Spongeocto4 View Post

                      I was wondering why Disney is making a big deal in the 1st place.
                      I can only offer my point of view, but if anything this seems more likely a dissent against the government regulation than related to individual civil claims. Disney can and will fight any civil suits they feel are without merit, and will settle ones theu thibk do have merit. Thats been their operation since the 1950s. I think it's impossible to absolutely prove that the bacteria came from Disneyland.

                      But the more important question worth fighting here is whether Disneyland was negligent in monitoring and operating the machinary. It's more than likely that they were following all industry reecommendations. It's been awhile since I read it, but I don't believe the OSHA report was even claiming that Disney was negligent and that's the problem: should a company that was following the rules still be fined because something happened? By OSHA standards, they are citing Disney because they believe the work environment wasn't safe (regardless really of the WHY in this scenario). Both sides in this instance have merit in my opinionopinion.

                      More concerning for Disney though would be the implications of being liable for unsafe working conditions resulting in non-negligent behavior. Would Disney be responsible should a Cast Member catch the measles from an unvaccinated guest? Should they have to monitor air quality levels for Cast Members? Are they going to be forced to close the park on days it's too hot or too cold? All this could be related to the definition of what constitutes an unsafe work environment based on what the judge determines.
                      ​​​​​​
                      For what it's worth this does seem to be a sticking point with OSHA now as they find their boundaries of what is enforceable. The last major fine they levied against Disneyland, was significantly reduced after it was appealed, so it doesn't seem OSHA has found the right balance just yet.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There should never be shortcuts , nor cheapness ,when comes to Safety and Health ISSUE !
                        That Alone , is why company needs new leadership.....Running the Parks
                        Responsibility lies with Disney ultimately !
                        Soaring like an EAGLE !

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post

                          The first step to cleaning up one's act is admitting it needs to be cleaned up. Unfortunately, as the article shows, Disney remains firmly in denial that they were at fault.
                          Like many Big Corporation.....Disney will ,remains firmly in denial , that they were at fault.
                          They going try , tie it up in courts...........Except they are dealing with
                          Orange County Health Care Agency , and California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
                          Soaring like an EAGLE !

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MrLiver View Post
                            ...Would Disney be responsible should a Cast Member catch the measles from an unvaccinated guest? Should they have to monitor air quality levels for Cast Members? Are they going to be forced to close the park on days it's too hot or too cold? All this could be related to the definition of what constitutes an unsafe work environment based on what the judge determines.
                            Wow. With ludicrous defenses like that, Disney doesn't need critics.

                            It's sad that the defense is all about keeping the Corporation blameless and un-sue-able. Never a thought for the 22 people whose lives were affected, much less the one who died.

                            We heard the same heartless song & dance when the Columbia death and injuries were defended.

                            As was posted above, "Disney trying to lawyer-weasel their way out of responsibility is just disgraceful."
                            Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 12-05-2018, 05:21 PM.
                            "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                            it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                            together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                            designed to appeal to everyone."

                            - Walt Disney

                            "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                            - Michael Eisner

                            "It's very symbiotic."
                            - Bob Chapek

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post

                              Wow. With ludicrous defenses like that, Disney doesn't need critics.

                              It's sad that the defense is all about keeping the Corporation blameless and un-sue-able. Never a thought for the 22 people whose lives were affected, much less the one who died.

                              We heard the same heartless song & dance when the Columbia death and injuries were defended.

                              As was posted above, "Disney trying to lawyer-weasel their way out of responsibility is just disgraceful."
                              Amazing.........Corporation blameless and un-sue-able.?
                              22 people whose lives were affected, much less the one who died.
                              But ,Disney will ,remains firmly in denial...............

                              RIGHT.......As was posted above,
                              "Disney trying to lawyer-weasel their way out of responsibility is just disgraceful."
                              Soaring like an EAGLE !

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                Wow. With ludicrous defenses like that, Disney doesn't need critics.
                                Thanks for addressing the post instead of me.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by MrLiver View Post

                                  I can only offer my point of view, but if anything this seems more likely a dissent against the government regulation than related to individual civil claims. Disney can and will fight any civil suits they feel are without merit, and will settle ones theu thibk do have merit. Thats been their operation since the 1950s. I think it's impossible to absolutely prove that the bacteria came from Disneyland.

                                  But the more important question worth fighting here is whether Disneyland was negligent in monitoring and operating the machinary. It's more than likely that they were following all industry reecommendations. It's been awhile since I read it, but I don't believe the OSHA report was even claiming that Disney was negligent and that's the problem: should a company that was following the rules still be fined because something happened? By OSHA standards, they are citing Disney because they believe the work environment wasn't safe (regardless really of the WHY in this scenario). Both sides in this instance have merit in my opinionopinion.

                                  More concerning for Disney though would be the implications of being liable for unsafe working conditions resulting in non-negligent behavior. Would Disney be responsible should a Cast Member catch the measles from an unvaccinated guest? Should they have to monitor air quality levels for Cast Members? Are they going to be forced to close the park on days it's too hot or too cold? All this could be related to the definition of what constitutes an unsafe work environment based on what the judge determines.
                                  ​​​​​​
                                  For what it's worth this does seem to be a sticking point with OSHA now as they find their boundaries of what is enforceable. The last major fine they levied against Disneyland, was significantly reduced after it was appealed, so it doesn't seem OSHA has found the right balance just yet.
                                  In this case, Disney is principally responsible for the maintenance and condition of the cooling towers, if their contractor failed to clean it properly and claimants were sickened, Disney will be the one held liable under civil penalty. They will sue Disney and the way the fine language is written opens Disney up to a civil lawsuit. But claimants won't sue the contractor since they worked for Disney and Disney had the responsibility of care. Disney can sue the contractor to recover costs, but those sickened will go after Disney.

                                  In regards to your question about an employee with measles, this is under a concept of vicarious liability (or secondary liability). The degree that Disney would be held liable would be unknown. There is various operating insurances that cover such potential events. and since I am not counsel for TWDC, I can't say what their actual exposure would be in either case.

                                  However, in the cooling tower, while they likely have some operational insurance coverage, if they are found negligent, with puni's, Disney potentially has some serious exposure here. I believe this is why they are fighting vigorously what seems like a rather small fine. The language of the penalty is specifically worded in regards to negligence.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Never mind. I withdraw.
                                    Dead Mice Tell No Tails!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I’ve said this before. I’ve been on Pirates twice in the last month and the fog now in the battle show room is so dense and has a - at least to me - a strong chemical or bleach like smell to it that I get sinus infections two - three days later.

                                      I 1000% believe with all the water and moisture in the beloved ride combined with heat that’s required to make volumes of fog - it’s completely plausible that legionaries disease could really have been or still is possible in this underground ride. Clearly the ventilation systems for only this particular ride and it’s unique layout requires rigorous fastidious maintenance. Add to it the immense heat related humidity the L A and Orange County areas endured for the last two summers and bam you have a perfect storm in exactly the area you’d expect.

                                      What’s the argument? There’s plenty of shabbiness to be seen at DLR. It’s everywhere. I think Disneyland lately feels grimy to me. The attention to detail days are long gone.

                                      I have no doubt that Disney is guilty of negligence. While I love Pirates I want to know exactly what chemicals are in the fog, and how often are the air conditioning and cooling units are serviced. Heck I’d join a class action even.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Golden Zephyr View Post

                                        In this case, Disney is principally responsible for the maintenance and condition of the cooling towers, if their contractor failed to clean it properly and claimants were sickened, Disney will be the one held liable under civil penalty.
                                        I think everybody gets that. But I think the question being raised is whether or not Disney or its contractors acted improperly. It sounds like there hasn't been an actual legal determination (yet) that they were negligent. If they did all of the cleaning and maintenance they were supposed to do according to regulatory standards, what is the reasonable limit of their liability? It's also important to remember that the true source of the bacteria will probably never be definitively proven...

                                        Comment

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