CLIMB Works has been rated the #1 zipline in Tennessee for the past eight years, according to its website. But the reviews the company has been receiving this summer are far from positive. The Tennessee Department of Health revealed more than 500 cases of gastrointestinal illness were reported at CLIMB’s facility near Gatlinburg since mid-June. Tests conducted by the TDH indicated contamination of E. coli in the well water CLIMB was serving its customers, and multiple patients tested positive for norovirus as well.
Unfortunately for the Manthey family from New Orleans, those announcements came days after their visit to CLIMB, when they had already consumed well water provided by the company. “As a result of drinking said water, the plaintiffs became ill,” according to their new lawsuit, which seeks $50,000 in damages.
Water (and Bacteria), Water (and Vira), Everywhere
According to the lawsuit, the Mantheys drank water at the company that “was contaminated with fecal matter, E. coli, norovirus and/or other contaminants injurious to human health. As a result of drinking said water, the Plaintiffs became ill.” Although the extent of their illness isn’t detailed in the suit, exposure to some particularly nasty strains of E. coli can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. Norovirus can also cause diarrhea and vomiting, as well as nausea and stomach pain.
Climb Works had allegedly gone eight years without well water monitoring, as required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and was cited by the Division of Water Resources for “being identified as a source of a waterborne emergency” and for “operating a public water system without notifying the Division of Water Resources prior to placing the new system in operation.”
Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs, Everywhere
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Manthey family, and “those similarly situated who may have been exposed to contaminated water” while at the attraction from mid-May to mid-July 2018. The attorneys who filed the claim said there could be “hundreds” of eligible plaintiffs in the class-action suit, and will go about the process of identifying and notifying them of the suit through mail.
Along with damages for the family, the suit is asking for “a judgment for compensatory damages congruent with the damages they have sustained” for other class members.
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