Nearly 300 people who fell ill at the Toby Carvery restaurant in Exeter are close to reaching a financial settlement with Mitchells & Butlers Retail Ltd after the company admitted a breach of duty.
A total of 280 people suffered from symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea after eating at the Exeter Arms over the Easter weekend in April 2015. Many were left unable to work for a number of days, while others had ruined holidays.
The public health department at law firm Irwin Mitchell is representing the claimants, who will now receive compensation upon establishing that their illness and other related losses were caused through the breach of duty.
Amandeep Dhillon, a public health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said that the necessary evidence is now being gathered to prove that the customers fell ill after visiting the pub.
"We hope that by taking legal action important lessons will be learned when it comes to dealing with outbreaks of illness in premises like this, where large numbers of people come together," he explained.
"In this instance the pub was closed after illness was reported to the management but continued to trade over the Easter weekend after closing for one day. However, further people fell ill after the pub reopened and it was closed once again for a specialist clean, along with the adjoining hotel."
John Williams, 68, from Bangor, Wales was staying at the Exeter Arms on holiday when he fell ill with diarrhoea and sickness. The symptoms he suffered lasted three weeks and ruined his holiday.
He said: "The symptoms I suffered were absolutely horrendous and stayed with me long after I left Exeter and returned home to Wales. It really did take its toll on me.
"I don't think enough was done to control the outbreak at the pub and the hotel and I hope that the management has learned lessons from what happened last year so this never happens again."
Also affected by the illness outbreak after eating at the Exeter Arms was David Amor, 55, from Ilminster, Somerset. He was also on holiday and suffered symptoms for five days.
"Hopefully things are now in place to prevent this kind of thing happening again as the last thing you expect when visiting a restaurant in the UK is to be struck down with illness," he said.
Mitchells & Butlers were unavailable for comment at time of going to press.
Almost 200 diners to sue Toby Carvery over norovirus outbreak >>
Welsh ‘super mead' could prevent food poisoning >>
Are you looking for a new role? See all the current hospitality vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>
Latest video from The Caterer