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Man hospitalized with Legionnaire’s disease in 2022 files lawsuit against Orillia and contractors


An Orillia man who was says he was hospitalized for weeks after contracting Legionnaire’s disease in the fall of 2022 has filed a $2.6-million lawsuit against the city.

Jo Brabant, now 55, first spoke to CTV News in November of that year and described his “nightmare” battle with the disease from which he says he hasn’t fully recovered.

“I still have hardness in breathing. It hasn’t gotten any better for me.”

Brabant says he struggles to breathe and get around; once-simple everyday tasks aren’t possible now.

Brabant, who is a father and husband says he is now experiencing a worsening memory loss.

“I have times where I’ll be driving and I forget where I’m going and I need to stop and like program it into my phone.”

Brabant claims he still suffers from chills and pains in his joints and muscles. He spent three weeks in hospital in October of 2022 and was on dialysis for a month and a half, battling kidney failure, fatigue and muscle loss. He says however he can’t remember much of the stay in hospital anymore.

Brabant filed the lawsuit against the City of Orillia and two of its contractors claiming they failed to keep him and about 30 others safe when they were sickened by legionella bacteria in the fall of 2022. The lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Justice claims the city and those responsible for maintaining, cleaning and inspecting the cooling tower, where legionella was later found in September of that year, failed to take reasonable care of the facility and were negligent.

“They knew that there was cases from 2019 and they didn’t do anything about it but it took somebody dying for them to have to step up,” he says.

A 60-year-old Barrie man died of pneumonia that October according to the health unit.

Rotary Place was closed for several weeks while the city worked to find short and longer-term solutions to the cooling tower bacteria problem.

The lawsuit claims “As a result of the legionella outbreak and resulting illness Brabant continues to suffer decreased lung, heart and kidney function,” adding his “life expectancy has been significantly reduced.”

The city telling CTV News:

“As a standard practice” it “does not provide public comment regarding legal matters.”

Brabant, who lives in west Orillia but never entered the Rotary Place building prior to becoming sick, believes it happened when he was pumping gas nearby.

“Just going about my daily life and had no clue that anything like this could happen to me and it did and I’m paying the price for it,” he says.

Brabant says he expects to have a response from the defendants by the end of the month. The allegations against them have not been tested in court. Top Stories

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