Texas family files lawsuit after woman found dead in Arby’s restaurant freezer

Houston woman was alone at Louisiana restaurant, ‘fought to get out’ before she died, lawyer says

HOUSTON – A Texas family is suing Arby’s after their 63-year-old relative died when she was trapped in a freezer at a Louisiana restaurant.

Nguyet Le, from Houston, was found dead during regular business hours on May 11 at the restaurant in New Iberia, Louisiana, where she worked as a temporary general manager, according to KPRC, KSAT’s sister station.

Her family’s lawyer, Paul Skrabanek from Houston, said she was found by her son, who also worked at the restaurant.

According to Skrabanek, Le had been dropped off that morning to prepare for the day. At some point, she became trapped in the freezer which was typically kept at 10 degrees below zero, if not colder.

She was working alone at the time, and the freezer door had not been working properly, Skrabanek said.

Skrabanek said employees kept the door propped open with a box of oil because the latch was broken. Employees had allegedly reported the broken latch to management before and “there were multiple work orders put in,” he said.

Le died of hypothermia. There was blood on the inside of the door, implying she “must have fought to get out before collapsing,” the lawyer said.

“She beat so hard that her hands [were] bloodied and there was blood on the door and ultimately fell into the fetal position on the floor face first,” he told KPRC.

Foul play is not suspected but her family is suing for alleged negligence that led to Le’s death.

Skrabanek said he is awaiting a response from Turbo Restaurants, which operates the franchise.

“A situation like the one that befell Nguyet Le and her family is unacceptable. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, it may be possible to sue Arby’s for issues of premises liability, workers’ compensation, and wrongful death,” a news release from Skrabanek’s firm states.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.