A new lawsuit has been filed against Bartaco, the Port Chester restaurant responsible for a Hepatitis A outbreak last October. The lawsuit marks the fourth against the popular Westchester restaurant, including one class action lawsuit. All lawsuits seek unspecified remuneration for damages relating to the negligence of the restaurant.
Last October, a Westchester couple began experiencing fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea and poor appetite. A blood test confirmed the Yonkers couple had been exposed to Hepatitis A, a generally mild and short-lasting illness. After several other Westchester residents also tested positive for the illness, the Westchester County Department of Health pinpointed Bartaco as the cause. Stating at the time that “people have a right to expect that the food served to them at a restaurant is safe to eat” and noting that simple hand-washing is generally sufficient to prevent the spread of the illness, Westchester County began to notify the notify patrons of the popular restaurant.
On October 25, the Westchester government agency notified residents that anyone who ate or drank at Bartaco between August 22 and October 23 should receive preventative treatment against Hepatitis A, according to LoHud.com. Because medication is only effective within two weeks of exposure, the health department provided vaccination and preventative medication free of charge to the local community. According to the County’s Department of Health, over 3,200 Westchester residents took the County up on the offer. The Department of Health also shut down the restaurant, however it was opened later the same day.
The outbreak from Bartaco also led to another Hepatitis A outbreak in Westchester during the fall of 2017. According to the Department of Health, anyone who ate or drank at Sleepy Hollow Country Club between October 21 and October 29 was also at risk of a Hepatitis A. In addition, anyone who attended the country club’s gala on November 3 also risked Hepatitis A infection. One of the country club employees was positively diagnosed with Hepatitis A after eating at Bartaco.
The lawsuits against Bartaco allege that its reckless or careless behavior led to the Hepatitis A outbreak, meaning that if the employees had only washed their hands then it is likely Westchester residents would not have been required to seek preventative treatment and vaccinations, nor would they have been subjected to intrusive blood tests.