In Baltimore Circuit Court on Tuesday, 16 Ruth’s Chris Steak House employees filed a $64 million personal injury lawsuit against TPOB Pier Five LLC, the company that owns the Pier 5 Hotel where the Inner Harbor steak restaurant is located. The plaintiffs claim that they were hospitalized because they were exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide while working at the restaurant. Ruth’s Chris is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit because Maryland’s workers’ compensation laws prevent employees from suing their employers.
Each plaintiff is asking for $2 million in punitive damages and $2 million in compensatory damages. The lawsuit is accusing the owners and operator of the hotel of “wanton and reckless” acts and disregarding the health and safety of employees.
The cause of the leak was a crack in the boiler’s heat exchanger. The plaintiffs say that the improper maintenance and operation of the boiler cause the leak to occur for weeks until it was discovered on February 2. Employees reportedly suffered headaches in the weeks prior to the evacuation.
On February 2, the Ruth’s Chris Steak House was evacuated because workers began experiencing nausea, dizziness, and to feel faint. According to the Baltimore Fire Department, the concentration of carbon monoxide in the air was 400 parts per million—exposure to this much carbon monoxide can be deadly. Usually, a carbon monoxide reading of 100 parts per million warrants an evacuation from a premise.
Our Maryland and Washington D.C. personal injury law firm handles injury cases throughout both states, including claims and lawsuits involving premises liability, defective products, and exposure to hazardous substances. Even if you have been injured on the job, there may be a third-party that is not your employer whose negligence led to your injury accident.
Health Problems Caused by Exposure to Carbon Monoxide Include:
• Vision problems
• Flu-like symptoms
• Reduced brain function
Restaurant employees sue over carbon monoxide leak, USA Today, February 27, 2008
Carbon Monoxide, EPA.gov
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