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Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: July 24, 2022 12:08PM


The quality of the video its great but you can see the steam from the water several times. The employee doesn't appear to be in imminent danger to invoke any kind of self defense argument. The dousing of hat appears to be steaming water shows an offensive attack. There is no audio so it is unclear if threats were made. The employee went back for a second scoop of water. I am seeing some comments on the video that indicate the customer tried to go beyond the counter and allegedly shoved an employee. The problem here is that the employees response was not equivalent force. She probably should have cleared the other employees from the area just called the police. Doesn't look good for Taco Bell.


[www.nbcnews.com]

Video released Friday by attorneys representing two customers suing Taco Bell appears to show a person behind the counter of a Dallas store swinging a bucket of steaming liquid at them.

The pair say they suffered serious burns when a store manager poured the water on them as they complained about an incomplete order, their lawsuit claims.

The video was provided by the customers’ legal team, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Paul A. Grinke, who obtained it through a court order.

“Taco Bell management and employees’ actions in these videos are violent, callous, and inexcusable,” Grinke said in a statement Friday. “C.T. and her aunt, Brittany, restaurant employees themselves, calmly ask for the food they paid for with their with hard-earned money. Rather than simply resolve the concern, the Taco Bell employees taunt a 16 year old, and the manager ambushes them with scalding water.”

The suit, which was filed July 13 in a Dallas County district court, alleges Taco Bell and workers at the restaurant displayed gross negligence and hiring negligence that set in motion the alleged attack. It seeks more than $1 million in costs and damages.




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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2022 12:18PM by pRICE cUBE.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: July 24, 2022 12:23PM
Since we don't know, was she on the phone with police?

That's kind of a grandma self-defense move!
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: July 24, 2022 12:38PM
It couldn't have been too much of a disturbance by the customers before being doused, the other employee in the kitchen doesn't seem to take notice that anything is going on.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2022 12:38PM by Ombligo.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: July 24, 2022 12:44PM
Quote
Ombligo
It couldn't have been too much of a disturbance by the customers before being doused, the other employee in the kitchen doesn't seem to take notice that anything is going on.

Was thinking the same thing.

And is the offending employee actually on her cellphone as this goes down?



It is what it is.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: JoeH
Date: July 24, 2022 12:47PM
Quote
Ombligo
It couldn't have been too much of a disturbance by the customers before being doused, the other employee in the kitchen doesn't seem to take notice that anything is going on.

Behind the counter in the kitchen it can be quite noisy, unlikey the person working at putting together sandwiches would have heard much of anything. Would have to get very loud for that to happen.

Now whether the rest of what happened and not shown in this edited video called for this reaction, that is not clear at all. The manager clearly had a phone or similar item held up to her ear in the actual video from the NBC story as compared to the GIF posted here.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: July 24, 2022 12:54PM
Here’s a longer sequence of events video…
[youtu.be]

Clearly edited somewhat, as camera feeds being shown changes.

Edit: the news reports are describing the couple as “woman and her daughter”, not aunt and niece.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2022 01:00PM by DeusxMac.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: JoeH
Date: July 24, 2022 01:02PM
Quote
DeusxMac
Here’s a longer sequence of events video…
[youtu.be]

Clearly edited somewhat, as camera feeds being shown changes.

That makes it a bit clearer that they didn't get doused until they pushed their way behind counter.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: hal
Date: July 24, 2022 01:11PM
I've pretty much decided that all of these, 'that's so outrageous!!!' stories that appear on local TV news lack too much information to really know what happened.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: July 24, 2022 01:23PM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
DeusxMac
Here’s a longer sequence of events video…
[youtu.be]

Clearly edited somewhat, as camera feeds being shown changes.

That makes it a bit clearer that they didn't get doused until they pushed their way behind counter.

It may be inappropriate for her to step past the counter, but I can't tell that she "pushed" anyone.

I've been in situations in fast food restaurants where they shorted me food and the person I was speaking to about it started to rudely walk away mid-conversation. I stepped/leaned across that invisible line and waved at them to ensure that they could tell that the conversation was NOT over.

But I have "white privilege." I never had a thought that they would take it as an aggressive/violent/criminal trespass and attack me.



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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: July 24, 2022 04:36PM
I am still thinking that dousing someone with steaming water is not meeting regular force with force. Maybe a shove for shove or punch for punch but stealing water might rise to the level of escalated or arguably deadly force?

Straight up though, if I am working for a giant corporation and a customer goes nuts on the equipment or store, the aggressor can deal with the police. I am not risking my job or freedom for a corporations insured restaurant gear. Chasing someone off with steaming water seems like a bad idea if one’s life is not in imminent danger or great bodily harm or death.



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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: July 24, 2022 05:27PM
Quote
pRICE cUBE
…seems like a bad idea if one’s life is not in imminent danger or great bodily harm or death.

For discussion…

What if it’s imminent moderate “bodily harm”?; getting thrown to the floor, a broken nose, a napkin dispenser to the side of the head?

What if there’s a legitimately not-ignorable verbal threat of “great bodily harm”?

What if the aggressor’s size/strength exceeds the employees’ capabilities to intercede in a like manner?
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: hal
Date: July 24, 2022 05:37PM
All of this speculation is pointless without the audio.

There was a heated conversation. Sure, throwing the hot water was over the top. Unless... the woman crossing over into the employee area was saying something like, 'I'm going to grab that knife and put it through your eye', then the hot water doesn't seem so outrageous.

more info needed...
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: MikeF
Date: July 24, 2022 06:01PM
Maybe stores need to have a canister of pepper spray/gel (see thread below) available in the event of unruly patrons... A little less permanent damage...
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: graylocks
Date: July 24, 2022 06:59PM
workers have reason to be jumpy. End of June here in GA a customer at a Subway felt his sandwich had too much mayo and shot and killed one employee and wounded another.

similarly last week, again in the Atlanta area, a UPS driver got into an argument with someone in a parking lot and was shot. fortunately not killed AFAIK.

people cray cray.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2022 06:59PM by graylocks.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: July 24, 2022 08:00PM
Quote
DeusxMac
Quote
pRICE cUBE
…seems like a bad idea if one’s life is not in imminent danger or great bodily harm or death.

For discussion…

What if it’s imminent moderate “bodily harm”?; getting thrown to the floor, a broken nose, a napkin dispenser to the side of the head?

What if there’s a legitimately not-ignorable verbal threat of “great bodily harm”?

What if the aggressor’s size/strength exceeds the employees’ capabilities to intercede in a like manner?


I appreciate talking about the details. To be clear, I am not siding with the customers. I am analyzing corporate and criminal liability for the employee.

Everything is going to depend on what Texas state law is and what the local DA determines.

From what I see, this is the problem for the employee and Taco Bell despite us not having the audio is the physical distances involved. The employee, even if threatened verbally with death (unclear due to no audio), had time to fill the container, speed walk to the front, douse the customers, go back to the water source and get a refill and chase the customers out.

To me a verbal threat without being in immediate area/legs reach (assuming no weapons in hand) is still not a trigger for the dousing. If the customer had charged with clenched fist or weapon in hand, defensive force could be used. The employee seemed to have enough distance to leave the situation if she chose to.

If the aggressor had been a much larger assailant and close in proximity and charged, self defense actions seem reasonable.

In the end, I feel like the steaming water is the line that was crossed. Had the water been cold or room temperature, this would be in the news for humor. The employee voluntarily going back to the spot of confrontation complicates a self defense argument. The steaming water may have cause long term damage that a DA or jury could deem as not equal force against force.



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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 24, 2022 08:12PM
It would be more interesting if instead of 165° water it had been hot oil from the deep fat fryer.



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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Wags
Date: July 24, 2022 08:52PM
Quote
hal
All of this speculation is pointless without the audio.

There was a heated conversation. Sure, throwing the hot water was over the top. Unless... the woman crossing over into the employee area was saying something like, 'I'm going to grab that knife and put it through your eye', then the hot water doesn't seem so outrageous.

more info needed...

This. I’m used to see wackos acting aggressively and one should be able to defend against potential grievous harm. Boiling water is probably not a good choice as a means of self defense, but hard to judge the circumstances.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: July 24, 2022 09:08PM
Amateur forensics…Camera

Just prior to the water throwing, both women had moved all the way past the counter and into the work area.

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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: July 24, 2022 09:10PM
double post error facepalm



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2022 09:10PM by DeusxMac.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Wags
Date: July 24, 2022 09:15PM
Quote
DeusxMac
Amateur forensics…Camera

Just prior to the water throwing, both women had moved all the way past the counter and into the work area.


In Texas this should be enough to let the water flinger escape criminal charges. Gonna cost Taco Smell a small part of their legal expense outlay. A mere annoyance for them.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Janit
Date: July 25, 2022 06:03AM
It looks to me like the person near the front processing orders was the one in danger and the person (manager?) with the water and the phone may have been protecting her. We really need the audio for the complete interaction, starting before this clip.

Imagined audio:

Two women: "Hey you, you screwed up our order."
Person in front keeps processing orders.
Two women: "Put that down and stop ignoring us!"
Manager: "Please stay back."
Two women (with voices rising): "We'll teach you to ignore us!"
Manager (grabbing phone and moving back to fill pitcher with hot water): "Please stay back, I am calling to police."
Two women: "And what are the police going to do?"
Manager: "Get back from the counter or I will throw this hot water at you!"
Two women: "F you!"

Splash!
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 25, 2022 06:30AM
This is a civil suit now, the criminal case, if any, would seem already been adjudicated.

Verbal threats are most often considered no threat at all.

A customer crossing behind the counter is barely any crime, mainly simple trespass.

The criminal case would boil down to use of force, and was the water slinger justified.

In a civil case the standard of guilt is much lower, so a jury could easily find the water-slinger innocent or guilty.

Agreed, without audio it's difficult to know if the water-slinger can made a case for there being a credible threat to the staff, and if the hot shower was justified.

Without an actual physical assault, or significant threats of bodily harm from advancing couple, it doesn't seem likely that Taco Bell would prevail.

Casually dipping a pitcher into hot water while on the phone, strolling over to what appears to be unarmed trespassers, doesn't show any sense of urgency or danger, that I can see.






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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: July 25, 2022 07:43AM
Quote
RAMd®d
This is a civil suit now, the criminal case, if any, would seem already been adjudicated.

Verbal threats are most often considered no threat at all.

A customer crossing behind the counter is barely any crime, mainly simple trespass.

The criminal case would boil down to use of force, and was the water slinger justified.

In a civil case the standard of guilt is much lower, so a jury could easily find the water-slinger innocent or guilty.

Agreed, without audio it's difficult to know if the water-slinger can made a case for there being a credible threat to the staff, and if the hot shower was justified.

Without an actual physical assault, or significant threats of bodily harm from advancing couple, it doesn't seem likely that Taco Bell would prevail.

Casually dipping a pitcher into hot water while on the phone, strolling over to what appears to be unarmed trespassers, doesn't show any sense of urgency or danger, that I can see.

“Casually dipping”, “strolling over”, “no threat at all”… sounds like you’ve already reached your verdict.

If verbal threats were combined WITH “trespass”, the response may well have been warranted. Too soon to tell.
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: RgrF
Date: July 25, 2022 11:19AM
What happens if no one is carrying guns?
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Janit
Date: July 25, 2022 11:34AM
If someone yells "I'm going to kill you" and runs at you, do you have to wait for them to hit you for it to be self defense?
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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: July 25, 2022 01:32PM
Quote
Janit
If someone yells "I'm going to kill you" and runs at you, do you have to wait for them to hit you for it to be self defense?


Self defense issues get all sorts of muddied due to differing state laws. In some states, verbal threats can be met with certain physical responses of varying degrees. In other, the "defender" may have a "duty to evade" while some authorize high levels of force to "stand your ground".

I am not clear on what the law is in Texas for verbal death threats while the person is 30-40 feet from you. Where this situation get more complicated is that it is a civil case for monetary damages. The burdens of proof and laws of self defense are even more muddied in how they interoperate. The plaintiff's attorney could argue that even though a threat was made, tossing steaming water was not equivalent force to meet the threat level. That's where the possible permanent harm was done. My guess is that a jury could be sympathetic to the plaintiff since the water dumper went back for a second run. It could be argued that the injured party was not an imminent threat at that point and had to flee to not get doused again.



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Re: Taco Bell sued after employee goes medieval on customers
Posted by: Blankity Blank
Date: July 25, 2022 04:19PM
Just a data point.

I know a ton of people in retail, I’ve worked retail from floor staff to management, family have been small business retail owners for many decades.

Every bit of my experience aligns with one thing: ANYTIME a customer enters an employee space/area uninvited, particularly with any hint of aggression, big, huge red flags go up. There is simply no reasonable excuse for a patron to do this. The expectation is that the threat of a physical encounter (or alternatively robbery with only slightly different circumstances) has escalated dramatically.

Retail employees deal with angry, rude, aggressive, oddly acting, threatening patrons every. single. day.

95% of the time only the most volatile — whatever their outward demeanor at the moment — intentionally transgress from customer to employee space. As a manager or supervisor that is a no questions asked trigger to immediately step in a take full control of the situation.

The issue of appropriate level of force here really can’t be addressed without audio or a reliable transcript. Just for one thing, one single word changes everything.

“Gun”.

Generally speaking though, actually throwing the hot water, while quick thinking, is probably premature, not to mention too likely to also injure bystanders. But again, knowing the exact level of aggression is needed to say for sure.



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