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Lawyers release video of boiling water incident at Dallas Taco Bell

Attorneys say an employee threw the water at a woman and her niece as they were trying to get their order corrected.

Surveillance footage
Surveillance footage from the Taco Bell shows the moment an employee gathers boiling water from the kitchen before tossing it on a woman and her niece. The employee is seen in the upper right-hand corner setting down the steaming pitcher.(Paul Grinke and Ben Crump)

By Catherine Marfin

The attorneys for a woman and her niece who say they were severely injured when an employee at a Dallas Taco Bell poured boiling water on them released video footage Friday of the incident.

Attorneys Paul Grinke and Ben Crump filed a lawsuit in Dallas County on July 13 on behalf of Brittany Davis and her niece, identified in court documents as C.T., alleging Taco Bell didn’t properly train or vet its employees. The lawsuit — which lists as defendants Taco Bell, parent corporation Yum! Brands, local franchisee North Texas Bells and two employees who are not identified by name — seeks more than $1 million in damages.

The incident occurred June 17 after the two had been through the drive-through of a Taco Bell in the 11800 block of Abrams Road, just off Interstate 635 in Lake Highlands, and received the wrong order three times, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement Saturday, Taco Bell said the company takes the “safety and the wellbeing of team members and customers seriously.” The company said it was in contact with the franchise owner and operator of the location but that it could not comment on any specifics about the lawsuit.


A 2½-minute video released by the plaintiffs’ attorneys shows 12 different camera angles in and outside the restaurant. At the beginning of the footage, Davis and her niece are standing at the counter, and Davis is talking to a woman behind the cash register.

Two minutes later, an employee in the kitchen grabs a clear pitcher and fills it with water. The employee briefly sets it on a counter as steam rises from the pitcher.

That employee, who appears to be talking on a phone, then walks to the front counter and throws the water toward Davis and her niece.

Davis and her niece fall to the ground before getting up and running toward the exit. The employee goes back to the kitchen and appears to fill the pitcher again.

Davis and the girl are seen running to a car before the clip ends.


The lawsuit says they suffered second- and third-degree burns that caused permanent scarring. Davis went into shock on the way to the emergency room and suffered 10 seizures that caused “significant” brain damage, according to the lawsuit.

“Taco Bell management and employees’ actions in these videos are violent, callous, and inexcusable,” Grinke said in a written statement. “Rather than simply resolve the concern, the Taco Bell employees taunt a 16-year-old, and the manager ambushes them with scalding water. … I am appalled that Taco Bell would treat anyone this way.”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs
Attorneys for the plaintiffs also say one of the fast-food restaurant’s employees had a gun during the incident.(Paul Grinke and Ben Crump)

An additional 30-second video released by the attorneys shows two different employees in the kitchen area. The attorneys say one employee hid a handgun under his shirt before passing it to another employee a few seconds later.

The exchange happens as the water is being thrown on Davis and her niece. A handgun is not clearly visible in the footage.

The defendants have not filed a response with the court.


Dallas police previously said officers responded to reports of an aggravated assault and an assault at the Taco Bell on June 17. A minor called police the next day to report an assault connected to the same incident.

No arrests have been made. Police spokeswoman Melinda Gutierrez said Friday that all three cases are being referred to a grand jury.

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