St. Bernard Parish Family Achieves Settlement in Water-Borne Amoeba Death Case

leaky-faucet.jpgA St. Bernard Parish man almost certainly had no idea the peril that awaited him when he decided to use a common device to clear his sinuses. In the wake of the man’s death from a rare, brain-eating amoeba, the makers of the medical device and the home water heater the man used have settled a wrongful death claim initiated by the man’s parents, the Washington Post reports.

In 2011, Jeffrey Cusimano decided to use a “neti pot” to clear his sinuses. Neti pots work by thinning mucus and flushing it from the user’s sinus passages. After using the device, a parasitic amoeba entered the man’s system and he developed meningioencephalitis. The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, enters the body through the nose. Cusimano died on June 7, 2011.

The man’s parents sued both the neti pot manufacturer, NeilMed Pharmaceuticals Inc., and the maker of his home water heater, Rheem Manufacturing Co., in federal court. The family alleged that both devices contributed to the fatal case of meningitis. The water heater was defective and unreasonably dangerous, the parents maintained, because it failed to heat the home’s water to a temperature high enough to kill the amoeba. The neti pot was also defective and unreasonable dangerous because its construction or material makeup allowed the amoeba build up and flourish, according to the complaint.


The Cusimano family has a separate wrongful death suit against the St. Bernard Parish government, which is still pending. In addition to St. Bernard Parish, tests recently revealed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in the water of DeSoto Parish, where a woman suffered a similar death, according to the Post.

A 4-year-old Mississippi boy died in August after playing on a “Slip-n-Slide” while visiting St. Bernard Parish in July. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined the boy probably was infected by the same amoeba as Cusimano. The parish subsequently began flushing and chlorine burning its water, and is working toward replacing all its cast iron water pipes, according to the Times Picayune.

Terms of the Cusimano family’s settlement with Rheem and the pharmaceutical company were not disclosed in the court order dismissing the case. A loved one pursuing a wrongful death action in Louisiana may seek damages for a number of losses, including both tangible items such the loss of financial support, along with more intangible items like loss of love and affections, loss of society, mental anguish and pre-death mental and physical pain, suffering and terror.

Losing a loved one before their time, particularly when that death occurs due to someone else’s negligence, is extraordinarily painful. The law allows you to recover from those responsible for your loss. To find out more about your rights to recover against those who caused the wrongful death of your loved one, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. We can provide thoughtful, personalized and determined representation of your family as you pursue your legal rights.

For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 1-888-89-CARDONE (1-888-892-2736).

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