Video released Friday by lawyers representing two customers sue Taco Bell appears to show a person behind the counter of a Dallas store waving a bucket of steaming liquid at them.
The pair say they suffered severe burns when a store manager poured water on them while complaining about an incomplete order, their lawsuit claims.
The security video, which has no audio and was released in an edited compilation of cuts and in an hour-long unedited version, appears to show the employee pouring the water as words were exchanged between the customers and employees.
The video was provided by the clients’ legal team, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Paul A. Grinke, who obtained the video via a court order.
“The actions of Taco Bell management and employees in these videos are violent, insensitive and unforgivable,” Grinke said in a statement Friday. “CT and her Aunt Brittany, restaurant workers themselves, quietly ask for the food they paid for with their hard-earned money. Instead of simply solving the problem, Taco Bell employees taunt a 16-year-old, and the manager assaults them with boiling water.”
The lawsuit, published this week by Crump, alleges that Brittany Davis and a minor identified in the lawsuit as CT suffered permanent skin damage and a lifelong change in their appearance from the incident. CT is Davis’ niece, according to Grinke.
Images that the plaintiffs would show after the confrontation show major blistering and severe discoloration. The photos were released Friday with the video.
The lawsuit, filed in a Dallas County court on July 13, alleges that Taco Bell and employees at the restaurant demonstrated gross negligence and hiring negligence that led to the alleged attack. It claims more than $1 million in costs and damages.
In a statement Wednesday, Taco Bell said it takes employee and customer safety seriously and has been in contact with the franchise owner and operator described in the suit. The company declined to comment further at the time, citing pending lawsuits, but did respond to a request for comment on the video release.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in Taco Bell restaurants,” the chain said. “We take this very seriously and are working with our local franchisee to investigate.”
The parent company of Taco Bell Yum! Brands and a regional franchisee, North Texas Bells, also named in the lawsuit, did not respond to previous requests for comment, and the same was true when they were made aware of the coverage based on that security video. Taco Bell and North Texas Bells also did not respond to requests for comment from two unnamed employees listed on the suit.
The June 17 incident happened after Davis, CT and another family member received an incorrect order and went through a second and third drive-thru to try to fix it, according to the lawsuit. When that failed, they walked to the locked door and were let into the dining room, the suit said.
After a discussion, the employees refused to correct the order and a manager, who was not involved in the talks, came out and poured a bucket of hot water over the two, moistened CT’s face and got the water on both plaintiffs’ chests. said the suit.
Video of the meeting shows CT and Davis being hit with water as one of the customers, identified as Davis by one of their attorneys, passes through an opening in the counter that appears to lead into the kitchen.
CT appears to be following, but they don’t make it past the back of the counter — and it’s not clear if that was their intention — before the water hits them, the video shows. The couple’s view, including their arms and faces, is obscured by the angle of the cameras.
The pair tried to flee and were briefly stopped by the locked door behind them, but escaped before the manager could return with a second bucket of water, the file says.
Davis and her niece were rushed to a hospital and later transferred to a second hospital for additional treatment, the suit states.
CT had burns to her face, chest, legs, arms and abdomen. Davis also suffered burns to her chest and stomach, and injuries to her brain function, causing multiple seizures, according to the suit.