A class action lawsuit has been filed against an Olive Garden restaurant in Fayetteville, NC where a food server infected with hepatitis A potentially exposed thousands of diners to the virus. 

The suit was filed in Cumberland County Superior Court by Seattle-based food safety law firm Marler Clark, in conjunction with Ashland-based Robert & Stevenson, on behalf of plaintiff Claudia Prescott and all others who had to get hepatitis A vaccinations or immune globulin injections after dining at the restaurant.

Earlier this month, Cumberland County public health officials announced that anyone who visited the Fayetteville Olive Garden Restaurant, at 234 N. McPherson Church Road, on July 25, 26, 28, 29, 31 and Aug. 1, 2 and 8 might have been exposed to hepatitis A through an employee. Hepatitis A is often spread through food contaminated with fecal matter of an infected person.

Health officials have reported that some 3,000 people people received immunizations.

“Standing in line for hours and receiving an unwanted immunization is not commonly associated with a dinner out at Olive Garden,” said Marler Clark attorney David Babcock in a news release. “Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease.  If Olive Garden had required its employees to be immunized — or better yet, paid for employees to receive the hepatitis A vaccine — thousands of people would not have unnecessarily spent time and money protecting themselves from infection.”

Anyone who received an immune globulin shot or hepatitis A vaccine as a result of consuming food or beverage at Olive Garden may be eligible to join the class.