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Class Sues Over Hardees Hepatitis Scare

(CN) - A Hardee's restaurant in Spartanburg County, S.C., allowed an employee with hepatitis A prepare food, exposing patrons to the virus, a class action claims.

Plaintiff Cody Werkmesiter claims he was exposed to the virus during a visit to the restaurant on September 8, but no one knows exactly how many patrons were similarly exposed -- the complaint suggests the number "may exceed 3,000" -- because of the high volume of business a typical Ardee's does.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environment was notified on September 17 that a Hardee's employee had tested positive for hepatitis A and had been working at the restaurant during his infection.

"Dr. Anna-Kathryn Rey, M.D. medical consultant in DHEC's Bureau of Disease Control, recommended that customers and staff who ate food at the defendant's restaurant during the 'exposure periods'... should receive post-exposure treatment for hepatitis A," the complaint says.

A spokesperson for Hardee's told Courthouse News, "CKE Restaurants [the restaurant group that owns Hardee's] takes the health of its guests and employees very seriously. We have worked closely with the appropriate authorities to ensure the health and safety of all our customers and employees."

The class seeks general and special damages. The damages include "wage loss; medical and medical-related expenses; travel and travel-related expenses; emotional distress; fear of harm and humiliation; physical pain; physical injury."

"As far as the recent action, we do not comment on pending litigation," the Hardee's spokesperson told Courthouse News.


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