Lawsuit claims man died from brain infection caused by contaminated water in Neti Pot

Michelle Keahey Jun. 22, 2012, 2:14am

NEW ORLEANS - The parents of a deceased Saint Bernard Parish man have filed a lawsuit that claims their son suffered from a fatal brain infection as a result of using contaminated water in a nasal irrigation pot.

Patrice Downing Cusimano and Nunzio Cusimano, individually and on behalf of Jeffrey Allen Cusimano, filed suit against Neilmed Pharmaceuticals Inc., Rheem Manufacturing Co. and Rheem Sales Co. Inc. June 6 in federal court in New Orleans.

Jeffrey Cusimano used a NasaFlo Neti Pot to wash his nasal cavity and suffered a form of parasitic meningitis that resulted in his death on June 7, 2011.

According to the lawsuit, Cusimano's Residential Outdoor Gas Tankless Water Heater at his home was contaminated with parasitic meningitis.

The parasitic meningitis was caused by naegleria fowleri, which infects people by entering the body through the nose.

The defendants are accused of construction or composition defect that rendered the NasaFlo Neti Pot and the water heater unreasonably dangerous.

The suit says that the water heater does not heat water to the temperature necessary to destroy the organisms and the neti pot allows organisms to buildup and survive.

Other causes of action against the defendants include design defect, inadequate warning, breach of express warranty, redhibition, breach of warranty of fitness for ordinary use, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and fitness, and negligence.

The parents are seeking an award of wrongful death and survival damages, damages for loss of consortium, interest, and court costs.

They are represented by Stephen B. Murray and Jessica W. Hayes of Murray Law Firm in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01455

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