Ninth lawsuit filed against Hereford House after former worker allegedly contaminated food

A ninth lawsuit was filed against Hereford House Friday following a former employee’s admission that he allegedly contaminated food at the restaurant’s Leawood location.

The latest lawsuit represents 12 people who attended the 80th birthday party of Lynton Hughley, one of the plaintiffs, at Hereford House on April 20.

The suit alleges that within hours of eating at Hereford House, members of the group showed symptoms of food poisoning, including vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, discomfort, fatigue, weakness, nausea, stomach cramps and body aches.

Since learning of the charges filed against 21-year-old Jace Christian Hanson, who is accused of allegedly contaminating the food with bodily fluids, the plaintiffs claim they’ve dealt with emotional distress, including anxiety, embarrassment, frustration, fear and uncertainty.

Each of the nine lawsuits claims the restaurant was negligent and breached an implied warranty that its food would be safe to eat. The lawsuits also makes a strict liability claim, alleging that the contaminated food was a defective product that the restaurant served to customers.

Hanson was initially charged in April with one count of adulterating or contaminating food. Earlier this month, prosecutors filed additional charges, including 22 counts of criminal threat for allegedly contaminating food, one count of criminal damage and 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a child for allegedly possessing child sexual abuse materials.

The charges allege the food contamination took place between April 1 and 23.

Hanson was arrested on April 25 and remains in Johnson County jail on a $500,000 bond.

He allegedly posted videos that showed a man urinating in restaurant-style food bins and rubbing food on his butt and genitals. The FBI traced the videos, which were posted under the pseudonym “Vandalizer,” to Hanson’s cellphone, according to court documents.

The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial and an unspecified amount in damages.