Makers of water heater and sinus cleaning device reach settlement with family of man who died of brain infection

Posted
by John Chapman

The parents of a Louisiana man who died from a brain infection have settled their lawsuit against the manufacturers of two household devices that they blamed for their son’s death.

Jeffrey Cusimano’s parents alleged that their son’s death from a brain infection was caused by a microorganism (naegleria fowleri) that entered his brain through his nose when he used the NasaFlo Neti Pot to wash his nasal cavities. The lawsuit allege that NeilMed designed, tested, manufactured, advertised, marketed and sold the NasaFlo Neti Pot. The parents also sued Rheem, the alleged manufacturers and/or sellers of a tankless water heater that was installed in the decedent’s home.

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (“PAM”) is a form of parasitic meningitis that causes a fatal brain infection. PAM is caused by naegleria fowleri. Naegleria fowleri is a free-living excavate form of protist that infects people by entering the body through the nose. Naegleria fowleri travels up the nose to the brain and destroys the brain tissue.

Jeffery regularly used the NasaFlo Neti Pot to wash his nasal cavities. According to the lawsuit, in June of 2011, the Residential Outdoor Gas Tankless Water Heater at Jeffrey’ house was contaminated with naegleria fowleri. As a result, the water he used to clean his sinuses was contaminated with naegleri fowleri. His parents alleged that the use of the NasaFlo Neti Pot with water contaminated with naegleria fowleri from the water heater caused Jeffery’s infection and death.

The terms of the settlement s were not disclosed in a federal judge’s order that dismissed the lawsuit.

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Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.