Four days after filing a class action lawsuit against Golden Corral, Ochs Law Firm filed a second complaint against the buffet-style restaurant.
While Friday’s suit seeks reimbursement for all who ate at the east Casper restaurant during a specified time, the new lawsuits are individualized for those who suffered bodily harm, Casper attorney Jason Ochs said in an emailed statement.
Officials from Golden Corral say they took immediate action to correct the problem and prevent future illnesses.
Monday’s complaint names four Natrona County residents as plaintiffs, all of whom patronized the restaurant late last year and claim they subsequently suffered “bodily injuries, mental and physical pain and suffering and economic loss.”
The Wyoming Department of Health said there have been more than 300 reported cases of norovirus among the restaurant’s customers. Officials believe several more cases were unreported. The department estimated about 7,000 individuals ate at Golden Corral between Nov. 17 and Dec. 19.
Representatives from the North Carolina-based Golden Corral Corporation said they had not yet been served the lawsuit and wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.
The latest suit lists nine allegations against the restaurant for its alleged responsibility in the outbreak.
Allegations include “vomitus accidents” in the dining area and more than 20 employees working while displaying gastrointestinal symptoms. The accusations are based on the Department of Health’s findings.
The complaint additionally contends the company was negligent in preventing the outbreak.
David Giesen, president of Golden DBL Inc. and owner of the Casper franchise, said the company worked closely with the Casper-Natrona Health Department to assist in its investigation and took immediate action.
“We appreciate the work that went into the final report issued by the Wyoming Department of Health regarding the local outbreak of norovirus that occurred last year,” he said in an emailed statement. “Norovirus is not a foodborne illness, and we know that it is easily transmitted by contact.”
The Centers for Disease Control says norovirus is the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the U.S.
Giesen said the company continues to promote cleanliness and rigorously follows the health department’s recommendations.
“The health department’s report notes that the inspections conducted by the county on Dec. 31, after the outbreak in the community subsided, gave Golden Corral high marks,” he said. “We are grateful for the Casper community’s continued support and patronage. The health and well-being of our guests and employees remain our top priorities. “
The lawsuit did not request a specific monetary amount in damages, but claims a judgment against the defendants would result in an amount “well in excess” of $75,000.
Ochs said the exact amount will depend on “the extent of what the company knew or didn’t know, and what they chose to tell patrons or not tell them.”
Ochs said more plaintiffs could emerge.
“We intend to represent all legitimate cases where a plaintiff has been genuinely harmed by the actions of the restaurant,” he said.