Health Law

Chinese restaurant accused of sickening lawyers had history of code violations

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A Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia sued after allegedly sickening about 100 lawyers and law students has a history of health code citations.

The restaurant, Joy Tsin Lau, was cited for 250 alleged health code violations over a six-year period, CBSPhilly reports. The city had threatened to shut down the restaurant four times since 2009, according to this story by

The lawyers and law students became ill after attending a fundraiser at the restaurant for Temple University’s Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, according to earlier news coverage by Lawyer Samantha Green sued the restaurant this summer, claiming the restaurant had a “sordid history of health code violation and food-borne illness.”

Green said she sought treatment at a hospital for food poisoning after eating at the restaurant. “It was easily the worst couple days of my life,” she told CBSPhilly. “It was vomiting, diarrhea, cramping. It was everything.”

Two weeks before the lawyer banquet on Feb. 27, health inspectors cited the restaurant for lack of soap in the employee bathroom and inaccessible hand-washing sinks. Another inspection a week after the banquet found 41 alleged violations, including mouse droppings on work tables. The restaurant closed for a day and reopened March 3, reports in this story.

A follow-up inspection in April found 35 violations, and once again the restaurant shut down for a day. A health inspector doing a follow-up inspection said no mouse droppings were observed. The city filed a suit in May seeking to shut down the restaurant as a “public health nuisance.”

Joy Tsin Lau’s owner, Mabel Chi Chan, told she was surprised by the city’s lawsuit. The last city inspection in April “said everything was 100 percent OK,” Chan said. “I don’t understand. When the health department says something is not right, we change it. We do everything to be right.”

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