A police officer filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell for allegedly sabotaging his food which put him in a near life and death situation.
An Oklahoma City police officer Shawn Byrne and wife Amanda Byrne have filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell. They claim that employees at local Taco Bell restaurant put cologne and spicy chipotle in his steak quesadilla, causing severe burns to his throat.
They are seeking more than $75,000 in damages after he claims he was forced to take weeks of sick leave after the incident.
Shawn Byrne allegedly ordered a steak quesadilla and a Mountain Dew in the drive through of the Taco Bell at W Hefner and N Rockwell one night in February after helping organize a charity event at a local church, according to the lawsuit, which the Byrneses filed March 31 in federal court in Oklahoma City.
NewsOK reports that the officer claims in the lawsuit: “After the person at the window took his order, he went over to two men employees and said something to them. They all looked over at him and started laughing. A few minutes later, the order taker brought his order and said he was sorry for the delay.”
Byrne said his “tongue, throat and the roof of his mouth began burning” after his third bite of the food.
The next morning, his mouth and eye were still burning so he went to the doctor. An examination revealed “burned spots on his throat,” Shawn Byrne claim in his lawsuit.
The police officer claims he could not work because of the burns and has had to take more than 127 hours of sick leave from the police department and has also missed 68 hours of extra jobs that were scheduled. Less than two weeks after eating the sandwich, Shawn Byrne developed appendicitis and had to have surgery, which his doctor said could have been caused or exacerbated by the spicy quesadilla.
The police officer kept the rest of the sandwich and had it tested, which showed it contained cologne and a “high concentration of pepper,” the lawsuit claims.
Bryne’s attorney noted: “The Department of Agriculture said there was an extremely hot pepper sauce on the sandwich and there was cologne in the sandwich also,” adding, “Shawn does not wear cologne.”
Shawn Byrne reported the spicy quesadilla to Oklahoma City Police, who further investigated.
The department’s initial investigation revealed that two of the three Taco Bell employees who laughed at him have criminal backgrounds. Additionally, the lawsuit states that surveillance video the order taker dropping the packaging for his food on the floor, picking it up, and nevertheless putting his food in it and handing it to him”.
In an interview, one Taco Bell worker allegedly admitted that straight chipotle, instead of quesadilla sauce, was put on the sandwich.
People commenting on the story wondered why better background checks are not in place, noting: “Taco Bell as a whole is not to blame for this incident, but their managers need to have strict guidelines as to who they hire and those hires need to be thoroughly checked out. When an entity feeds the public the people who work there should be on the up and up without question.”