A woman and a girl are suing Taco Bell after one of its employees in Dallas allegedly poured boiling water on them, reportedly leaving both individuals severely burned and traumatized.
Brittany Davis and a minor identified in court documents as C.T. filed a lawsuit in Dallas County on July 13, claiming Taco Bell did not correctly vet or train its employees.
Davis and the minor went to a Taco Bell in the 11800 block of Abrams Road, just off Interstate 635, on June 17. They ordered around $30 worth of food.
Per the lawsuit, Davis got a wrong order and had to go through the drive-through three times in an attempt to get the order corrected. They decided to park and go inside the store when their attempts to correct the order failed. An employee let them in and locked the door behind them.
After Davis and the child had discussed the wrong order with employees for about 10 minutes, the employees became combative.
The plaintiffs claimed that a Taco Bell manager, who had not been involved in the conversation about the food, came out from behind the counter, carrying a bucket of “scalding” water. That manager then poured it on the customers. Davis and the girl tried to exit the store but could not leave as the door was still locked.
The plaintiffs eventually exited the store as the manager started to walk toward them with another bucket of boiling water. One employee at the store followed them outside, “laughing, clapping, and taunting the family” as they got into their vehicle, according to the lawsuit.
Davis alleged she began having seizures due to the shock from the incident. The child had to remove her clothes to minimize the burning as family members drove the complainants to an emergency room. Per the lawsuit, the girl ran inside the hospital naked upon arrival, and hospital staff had to cut Davis’ clothing to remove it from her body.
Davis was intubated and airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital’s intensive care burn unit. She had 10 seizures before making it to Parkland, causing “significant” brain damage. She also suffered burns on her frontal midsection.
The girl’s face, chest, arms, legs, and stomach were burned, and her mother allegedly had to remove mirrors from the walls when she returned home from the hospital because the child could not bear to see her face, according to the lawsuit.
“All of this could have been prevented had Taco Bell placed human decency and customer service over a few dollars that it would have cost to get Plaintiffs’ order right,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit names Yum! Brands, Taco Bell Corp., Taco Bell of America, Taco Bell #22872, North Texas Bells, and two employees — whose identities have not been released — as defendants. The defendants are accused of “negligence by the individual employees, negligent hiring, and failure to control and prevent injuries to their customers, premises liability, and gross negligence.”
The plaintiffs seek relief of $1 million in actual damages, with the final amount to be decided by a jury.
Paul Grinke, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, did not respond to requests for comments. Still, his law firm, Grinke and Crump, released a statement stating, “Our hearts break for these two victims whose lives are forever changed because of the horrific and damaging actions by the Taco Bell manager and the larger entities that failed to protect the safety of their customers.”
The law firm claims Davis and C.T. are not only suffering “physical trauma because of the burns, but they will now live with the psychological trauma that comes with an attack like this.” They summarily assert that “corporations have a duty to employ quality and stable employees who hold safety as the highest priority.”
The law firm released the security video footage on Friday, which they obtained through a court order. Following the release, Grinke stated, “Taco Bell management and employees’ actions in these videos are violent, callous, and inexcusable.”
No defendants listed in the lawsuit have responded to requests for comments. The Dallas Express did not find evidence that the defendants have filed a response to the lawsuit with the court.
However, Melinda Gutierrez, Dallas PD spokeswoman, revealed that officers responded to two reports — one of an aggravated assault and another of assault — at that Taco Bell location on June 17. Gutierrez said the victim in the aggravated assault case is the suspect in the assault case. She added that one of the women involved in the incident was severely burned while the other was scratched during a physical altercation.
Gutierrez additionally confirmed that a minor also reported an assault related to the incident, but that was not until the next day, on June 18. Gutierrez did not say whether Dallas police had made any arrests.
It is unclear whether or not the plaintiffs in the civil suit intend to pursue criminal charges against the employees for assault.