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South Jordan Journal

South Jordan Restaurant to Get a Fresh Start

Aug 23, 2016 01:54PM ● By Mylinda Le Grande

By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]
Under new ownership, the South Jordan restaurant Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, looks to the future.
The new owner, Kody Cambell,  hopes to win back old customers and  make new customers. He said It hasn’t been easy taking ownership at the restaurant after Jan Harding was injured there two years ago.
Harding received second- and third-degree burns in her throat after drinking tea there. She immediately began choking and suffered severe burns to her esophagus and throat. The tea contained a heavy-duty cleaner chemical that an employee put in the tea mix, thinking it was sugar. She was hospitalized for two weeks and was in critical condition for several days.
Although Harding didn’t sue the company, In December 2014, Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants Inc. and its franchisee Finger Lickin' Brands reached a settlement with her. Although the settlement was confidential, they sent out a statement saying they had “amicably resolved all claims between them.”
“Ms. Harding was pleased to see that the company was able to demonstrate extensive changes which have been put in place to ensure that a similar accident doesn’t happen again,” the press release states.
May 2015, Finger Lickin' Brands filed for bankruptcy and sold its company. John Thompson, owner of that company, wouldn’t respond to messages left for him to comment about the situation.
In July 2016, the toxic tea case had a new development.
Dickey’s franchise sought to sue U.S. Foods and Ecolab, the Minnesota-based company that manufactures the toxic chemical, for $5 million in damages for not having proper safety warnings on their packaging. In the suit, Dickey’s stated they had lost profits after the widespread coverage of the tea incident.
Ecolab didn’t have a comment on the lawsuit, company spokesman Roman Blahoski said.
U.S. Foods is an Illinois-based company that distributes the chemical. Company representatives said little about the matter.
“It is our policy not to comment on pending litigation,” said company employee Debra Ceffalio.
Harding hasn’t been available for comment on her reaction to the lawsuit and has not stated whether she is upset that the franchise is passing the blame, when she didn’t do the same.
Campbell hopes this development doesn’t further damage his business in South Jordan.
“The way the tea is prepared is different now,” he said. “It used to be a bucket of sugar that was measured from for making the tea. Now we have individually wrapped packages labeled ‘sugar.’ What happened before can’t happen again. There is not one employee here now that was there at the time of the accident. We want people to know that although the mistake was not our [as the new owner’s] fault, we feel terrible about it. We feel the effects in our business, but we offer top-notch, fresh, awesome barbecue food.”
Other positive changes at this location set for the fall include lowering the prices of the food and adding menu items such as street tacos.