Taco Bell sued after a Dallas store manager allegedly attacked 2 customers with scalding water
Two Taco Bell customers said they sustained serious burns when a manager at a Dallas store poured hot water on them as they complained about an incomplete order, a lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit against the restaurant chain, which was announced Tuesday by one of the plaintiffs, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, alleges Brittany Davis and a minor identified only as CT with permanent skin damage and a life change in their appearance from the accident.
The lawsuit, filed July 13 in Dallas County Court, alleges that Taco Bell and the restaurant’s employees showed gross negligence and negligent renting that led to the alleged attack.
In a statement, Taco Bell said it takes worker and customer safety very seriously and has been in contact with the franchisor and operator described in the lawsuit. The company declined to comment, citing a pending lawsuit.
Parent Company Taco Bell Yum! Brands and the regional franchise entity, North Texas Bells, which is also named in the lawsuit, did not respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit also mentions the names of Jane and John Doe, two factors the plaintiffs were unable to identify. Taco Bell and North Texas Bells did not immediately respond to requests for comment from employees.
The Dallas Police Department said it was investigating the incident after the clients, identified by attorney Paul Gringe as Davis and her niece, reported that they had been burned.
The department said a Taco Bell employee also claimed he was assaulted. Greinke denied the claim and said, “It is hard to imagine a scenario in which it would be acceptable to pour hot water on a minor.”
The incident occurred on June 17 when the couple failed to get the order right at the Dallas Taco Bell and went through driving a second and third time in unsuccessful attempts to reform the system, according to the lawsuit.
After the request was denied, the suit said, the two were stopped and headed to the site’s dining room, which was closed at the time. She said a staff member opened the door, let them in and closed it again behind them.
When they asked to have their order rectified, the staff refused, one staff member challenged CT into a fight, then a manager they didn’t speak to poured a bucket of hot water on the two, flooded CT’s face and got water on the chest of both plaintiffs, the suit said.
The lawsuit said the two tried to escape but were stopped by the locked door. By that time, the manager had returned with another bucket of hot water, but they escaped before a second attack, the file claims.
Restaurant workers followed the injured couple outdoors, laughed, taunted them, and applauded them before they could drive away, the claim said.
The lawsuit said family members took Davis and CT to the hospital, where some of Davis’ skin came off her clothes during her treatment and she ended up with deep burns to her chest and stomach. Both were taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital for additional treatment.
The lawsuit alleges that Davis also suffered an injury to her brain function, which led to at least 10 seizures before she made it to Parkland.
CT had burns to her face, chest, legs, arms and stomach, according to the lawsuit, which said her mother removed mirrors from their home because her daughter couldn’t “bear to see her face.”
“The burns to her face will cause disfigurement and scars that will forever affect her self-image,” the lawsuit reads.
The claim asks for more than $1 million in costs and damages.
“All of this could have been prevented if Taco Bell had put humane etiquette and customer service on a few dollars, which would have cost the plaintiffs’ order right,” the suit alleged.
Crump and Grenk said they believe companies have a responsibility to hire people who respect safety and security in the workplace.
“Brittany and CT have not only been physically traumatized by the burns, but will now live with the psychological trauma that comes with an attack like this,” the lawyers said in a statement.
Tim Steloh Contributed.