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Adel v. Greensprings of Vermont, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Vermont
363 F. Supp 2d 692 (2005)


During a ski vacation in Vermont, Leslie Adel (plaintiff) stayed in Unit 24 of Greenspring, an individually owned condominium that was part of a complex owned by Greensprings of Vermont, Inc. (Greensprings) (defendant). Greensprings owned and maintained the water supply for the condominiums, and the individual building owners received water bills that were calculated per capita. Robert Rubin (defendant) was the Greensprings employee responsible for water-system maintenance. During his stay, Adel used the facility’s swimming pool and spa, as well as the bathrooms and showers in Unit 24. After returning home from vacation, Adel fell ill and was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, which was most often contracted by inhaling water droplets containing the Legionnella bacteria. Shortly thereafter, the Vermont Department of Health (Department) collected water samples from various water sources at Greensprings. After testing the samples, the Department found that some of the samples contained the same type of Legionnella bacteria found in Adel’s lungs. The Department also found that Greensprings’ water facilities were inadequately maintained. Adel brought suit against Greensprings under Vermont’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) title 9A § 2-314, alleging permanent physical damage as a result of the infection. Adel’s suit consisted of claims for strict liability and breach of the warranty of merchantability based on Greensprings’ failed maintenance of its water supply. Greensprings moved for summary judgment, arguing that (1) Greensprings and its employees could not be held strictly liable because they were not sellers of water within the meaning of the UCC and (2) water was not a good under the UCC.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Sessions, C.J.)

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