Two Taco Bell customers said they suffered severe burns when a Dallas store manager poured boiling water on them when they complained about an incomplete order, a lawsuit has heard.
The lawsuit against the restaurant chain, released Tuesday by one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, claims that Brittany Davis and a minor identified only as CT suffered permanent skin damage and permanent change of their appearance since the incident. .
The lawsuit filed July 13 in a Dallas County district court alleges Taco Bell and restaurant employees engaged in gross negligence and negligence in hiring that sparked the alleged attack.
In a statement, Taco Bell said it takes worker and customer safety seriously and has been in contact with the franchise owner and operator described in the lawsuit. The company declined to comment further citing ongoing litigation.
The parent company of Taco Bell Yum! Brands and a regional franchise entity, North Texas Bells, which are also named in the lawsuit, did not respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit also names Jane and John Doe, workers the plaintiffs could not identify. Taco Bell and North Texas Bells did not immediately respond to employee requests for comment.
The Dallas Police Department said it was investigating the incident after the patrons, identified by attorney Paul Grinke as Davis and his niece, reported they had been burned.
The department said a Taco Bell employee also claimed to have been assaulted. Grinke denied the allegation and said, “It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which it would be acceptable to pour boiling water on a minor.”
The incident happened on June 17 when the couple received the wrong order at a Dallas Taco Bell and drove through the drive-thru a second and third time in unsuccessful attempts to get their order fixed, according to the trial.
After being turned away, the two parked and headed to the venue’s dining area, which was closed at the time, the suit said. An employee unlocked the door, let them in and closed it behind them, he said.
When they asked for their order to be corrected, the employees refused, one employee challenged CT to a fight, then a manager they hadn’t spoken to poured a bucket of hot water over the two, doused the CT face and getting water. on the chest of both plaintiffs, the suit said.
The two attempted to flee but were blocked by the locked door, the suit said. By then, the manager had returned with a second bucket of hot water, but they escaped before a second attack, according to the record.
Restaurant workers followed the injured couple outside and laughed, mocked and applauded them before they could leave, according to the filing.
Family members rushed Davis and CT to the hospital, where part of Davis’ skin peeled off along with her clothing while she was being treated and she was left with deep burns to her chest and to the stomach, the suit said. Both were transferred to Parkland Memorial Hospital for further treatment.
The lawsuit claims Davis also suffered brain damage, which triggered at least 10 seizures before heading to Parkland.
CT had burns to her face, chest, legs, arms and stomach, according to the lawsuit, which said her mother removed the mirrors from their home because her daughter couldn’t “bear to see his own face”.
“The burns on his face will cause discoloration and scarring that will forever affect his self-image,” the lawsuit said.
The claim seeks over $1 million in costs and damages.
“All of this could have been avoided had Taco Bell placed human decency and customer service above the few dollars it would have cost to get plaintiffs’ order correct,” the lawsuit alleged.
Crump and Grinke said they believe companies have a responsibility to hire people who respect workplace safety and security.
“Not only did Brittany and CT suffer physical trauma from the burns,” the attorneys said in a statement, “but they will now live with the psychological trauma that comes with an attack like this.”
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.
Tim Stellah contributed.