A video posted Friday by attorneys representing two clients suing Taco Bell appears to show someone behind a Dallas store counter swinging a bucket of steam liquid at them.
The couple say they suffered serious burns when a store manager poured water on them as they complained of an incomplete order, the lawsuit alleges.
The security video, which has no sound and was released in an edited set of bits and in an unedited hour-long version, appears to show the worker pouring water as words are exchanged between customers and employees.
The video was provided by the legal team of clients, civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Paul A. Greinke, who obtained it through a court order.
“The actions of the Taco Bell management and staff in these videos are violent, cruel and unforgivable,” Grinke said in a statement Friday. CT and her aunt, Brittany, the restaurant staff themselves, quietly ask what food they paid for with their hard-earned money. Instead of simply solving the problem, the Taco Bell staff taunts a 16-year-old, and the manager ambushes them with water scorching.”
The lawsuit, which was announced this week by Crump, alleges that Brittany Davis and a minor identified in the lawsuit as CT had permanent skin damage and a life-altering change in their appearance from the accident. CT is Davis’ niece, according to Grenk.
Pictures that were said to show the plaintiffs after the confrontation showed large blisters and severe discoloration. The photos were posted on Friday along with the video.
The lawsuit, filed July 13 in Dallas County Court, alleges that Taco Bell and restaurant workers showed gross negligence and negligent hiring that led to the alleged attack. Seeking more than $1 million in costs and damages.
In a statement on Wednesday, Taco Bell said it takes worker and customer safety very seriously and is in contact with the franchisor and operator described in the lawsuit. The company declined to comment further at the time, citing a pending lawsuit, but did respond to a request for its response to the video release.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe at Taco Bell restaurants,” the chain said. “We take this matter seriously and are working with our local franchisee to investigate.”
Parent Company Taco Bell Yum! The brands and regional franchise entity, North Texas Bells, also included in the lawsuit, have not responded to previous requests for comment, and the same was the case when notified of coverage based on this security video. Taco Bell and North Texas Bells also did not respond to requests for comment from unnamed employees included in the lawsuit.
The June 17 incident occurred after Davis, C.T., and a family member received an incorrect order and went on a car trip a second and third time to try to fix it, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit stated that when they were unsuccessful, they walked to the locked door and were allowed into the dining room.
After a discussion, the staff refused to rectify the matter and a manager, who was not involved in the conversations, walked out, pouring a bucket of hot water over the two, slathering CT’s face and taking water on the chests of both plaintiffs. The lawsuit said.
Video of the encounter shows CT and Davis being hit with water as one of the clients, identified by one of their attorneys as Davis, passes through an opening in the counter that appears to lead into the kitchen.
CT appears to follow, but they don’t get past the trailing edge of the counter – and it’s not clear if that was their intention – before the water hits them, the video shows. The angle of the cameras obscures the view of the pair, including their arms and faces.
The pair tried to escape and ran briefly through the door that was locked behind them, but escaped before the manager could return with another bucket of water, the lawsuit alleges.
Davis and her niece were hospitalized, and later transferred to a second hospital for additional treatment, the lawsuit states.
CT had burns to her face, chest, legs, arms, and abdomen. Davis also sustained burns to her chest and abdomen, and impaired her brain function, resulting in multiple seizures, according to the lawsuit.
The Dallas Police Department said it was investigating the incident.
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