Family of Legionnaire's Victim Files Lawsuit

NEW YORK -- The family of Richard Montesano today announced the filing of a lawsuit against New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center for the April 13, 2005 death of Richard Montesano, 63, of Tarrytown, N.Y. It was filed in the Supreme Court of the state of New York, county of Bronx, index number 16172/06.

The lawsuit seeks answers from New York Presbyterian regarding the death of Montesano that resulted from his contracting Legionnaire's Disease from an infestation of legionella bacteria in the hospital's water system. Montesano was treated at New York Presbyterian for a blister on his leg; he had been scheduled to undergo heart surgery at the same facility during the summer of 2005. Prior to his death, Montesano had worked as a marketing consultant for networks ABC and ESPN. He is survived by his wife, four children, a brother, and a sister.

Jeff S. Korek, the lawyer for the Montesano family and a partner at the NYC law firm of Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, stated that an investigation into the circumstances of Montesano's death had revealed that New York Presbyterian had been plagued by a persistent and recurring infestation of legionella bacteria within the hospital's water supply. Korek adds that New York Presbyterian's ongoing legionella problem, however, was worsened by the decision of New York Presbyterian's administration to keep news of the problem from patients and their families.

Korek noted further, "The tragedy of Mr. Montesano's unnecessary death could have been avoided if New York Presbyterian's administration had informed Mr. Montesano's family of the presence of the bacteria and the danger it posed to Mr. Montesano. Indeed, all the hospital had to do was inform the Montesano family that they should use bottled water instead of the hospital's tap water during Richard's stay at the hospital, but the hospital and its administration determined that patients and their families did not need to be privy to such basic information.

Korek says that according to the City of New York Department of Health records, other New York Presbyterian patients were actually receiving treatment for Legionnaire's Disease at the time Montesano became infected.

Source: Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C.