MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - A Kentucky woman died of Legionnaires' disease, after staying at The Guest House at Graceland in Memphis. 62-year-old Linda Gail Godsey of Jackson, Kentucky, stayed at The Guest House in June and died days later. Her family is suing the hotel, its management company, and Elvis Presley Enterprises.
This eight-page complaint, filed late last week in Davidson County, Tennessee, contends the hotel's negligence and lack of safe pool and hot tub maintenance caused four Kentucky women to get sick with Legionnaires' disease, and cost Godsey her life.
According to the lawsuit, Godsey and other family members stayed at The Guest House at Graceland from June 10th to June 13th. They used the hot tub and pool, and contracted Legionnaires' disease.
It's a type of bacteria normally found in water, and those who contract it usually experience symptoms similar to pneumonia, but it can be deadly.
Days after the vacation, Godsey died in a Kentucky hospital, and her family's attorney said a medical examiner report listed Legionnaires' as the 62-year-old's cause of death.
"They've lost something immeasurable and it's important that the people who caused it are being held accountable,” says Brandon Bass. "This family has lost the cornerstone of their family."
Bass is one of the attorneys representing Godsey's husband and three other plaintiffs. The lawsuit, filed last Thursday, contends “no one safely maintained' the water systems at The Guest House at Graceland, resulting in the 2017 Legionnaires outbreak.”
"If they had done regular design and regular maintenance, we wouldn't be sitting here right now,” says Bass. "There's no excuse for a hotel, particularly one this new, within less than a year, to have such a bad Legionella outbreak… Graceland and hotels like it need to know that it is important for them to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place, it's not just about picking up the pieces."
The suit seeks at least $25,000 dollars in damages for each of the four Legionnaires' disease victims. If Bass and his legal team is victorious, he hopes it sends a message.
"It's about families like the Godseys never having to go through this at all,” says Bass. "They (the family) are absolutely devastated, nothing can bring her back, this was the last thing they expected from a joyful family vacation."
We've emailed and left messages with representatives from The Guest House at Graceland and Graceland in the past 24 hours, but they haven't responded.
The Shelby County Health Department allowed The Guest House at Graceland's pool and hot tub to reopen in July after extensive cleaning, testing, and sampling found none of the legionella bacteria.
From the health department: “Individuals who stayed at the establishment between May 15, 2017 and June 26, 2017 AND have symptoms of Legionnaires Disease are encouraged to call the Shelby County Health Department’s Investigation Hotline at (901) 222-9299.”