Restaurant Chain at the Center of a Deadly Hepatitis Outbreak Is Filing for Bankruptcy
Two locations of Famous Anthony's, a Virginia restaurant chain at the center of a deadly Hepatitis A outbreak, are filing for bankruptcy. According to news reports, the restaurants located at Oak Grove Plaza and on Williamson Road in Roanoke Valley are resorting to a Chapter 11 filing in order to financially handle the claims filed against them in the wake of the outbreak. A third location has been shut down.
The Hepatitis A outbreak first came to light in October of 2021. It was associated with three of the four Famous Anthony's locations—at 4913 Grandin Road, 6499 Williamson Road, and 2221 Crystal Spring Ave.—where an infected employee worked between Aug. 10 and Aug. 27, 2021.
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Since then, the resulting number of infected individuals climbed to over 50. More than 30 of them had been hospitalized due to the severity of their illness, and four died. The latest death connected to Famous Anthony's was that of Larry Vest who passed away on Christmas Eve. Vest had lost his wife to the outbreak in the fall and had been battling liver disease since contracting the virus at the Williamson Road location several months ago.
The Vest family has retained food safety attorney Bill Marler to represent them in a case against Famous Anthony's, and they aren't the only ones. Marler is said to be representing as many as two dozen other families in the outbreak, according to reports.
The attorney for Famous Anthony's said the bankruptcy filing will allow the restaurant to remain open and reorganize in the face of the lawsuits. He issued the following statement on behalf of the chain's owners:
"Famous Anthony's has had the privilege of serving this community for over 35 years. This unforeseen hepatitis A exposure at two of our restaurants has impacted many in our close knit community including many loyal customers, employees and their families. In an effort to provide adequate compensation for those affected by the exposure and to preserve the jobs of the dedicated Famous Anthony's team members, Famous Anthony's at Oak Grove Plaza and Williamson Road have each filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions with the bankruptcy court for the Western District of Virginia. This allows restaurants to operate as usual while also giving them an opportunity to reorganize their business and meet their obligations. Business generated over this time will enhance the outcome of these goals. As always, Famous Anthony's appreciates the support of their staff, patrons and the community, and hopes to continue serving this community for many years to come."
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