La Barbecue Faces Lawsuit Over Cook’s Injury and Alleged Fraud
AUSTIN, Texas – A cook employed by La Barbecue has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant and its owners, alleging injuries and fraud. Aaron Gomez, who lost four fingers on his dominant hand in the summer of 2016, is being represented by attorney Jon Clark.
According to Clark, La Barbecue was operating with an unsafe sausage grinder at the time of the incident. The grinder lacked a functioning on-off switch and several necessary safety equipment. “The switch button from the meat grinder, sometimes it would work, or sometimes it wouldn’t, and that day, wasn’t working,” Gomez stated.
In his civil lawsuit against La Barbecue and its owners, Alison Clem and LeAnn Mueller, Gomez claims that they prevented him from presenting his case in front of a jury and from receiving full damages. Clark alleges that someone visited Gomez in the hospital and asked him to sign fraudulent documents on behalf of Mueller. These documents stated that Gomez was at fault for his own injury, which he refused to sign.
Clark further contends that the owners obtained a backdated workers’ compensation policy from an insurance agency without disclosing it. “By getting a workers’ comp policy, what they really did was they protected themselves from that civil lawsuit and from personal liability for their injuries to Aaron,” Clark explained. Gomez initially filed a claim and was approved without knowledge of the backdated policy.
In August 2022, Clem and Mueller were indicted for their involvement in a $350,000 workers’ comp fraud scheme, as announced by the Texas Department of Insurance. The criminal case is ongoing, with a hearing scheduled for the end of the month. Sadly, Mueller has since passed away.
Clark asserts that the compensation Gomez received was merely a fraction of what he was entitled to. He emphasizes that no worker should go to work in the morning and return home without fingers. “The reality is that no worker in this state should go to work in the morning and come home without fingers. That’s not right,” he stated passionately.
In response to the lawsuit, Clem released a statement, saying, “We have not been served with the lawsuit and so have no comment on it at this time. We have always acted in good faith to ensure that our employees are provided a safe environment in which to work. We are confident that the court system will eventually produce a result consistent with our good intentions.”
The case against La Barbecue and its owners continues to unfold, with Gomez seeking justice and fair compensation for his devastating injury.