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Famous Anthony's files bankruptcy at 2 locations after hepatitis A outbreak

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The Famous Anthony’s restaurant at 4913 Grandin Road Ext. S.W.

Owners of Famous Anthony’s filed bankruptcy Monday at two of their Roanoke locations after a hepatitis A outbreak originating from one of their employees killed four people and hospitalized more than 30.

Attorney Andrew Goldstein said the Chapter 11 filing allows the company to reorganize and remain open. In 90 days, the company will submit a plan outlining a payment schedule for the people who have claims against the restaurant.

Seattle food law attorney Bill Marler currently represents more than two dozen people who were sickened from or died in the Famous Anthony’s outbreak last fall.

An employee who worked at three locations — Grandin Road Extension, Williamson Road and Crystal Spring Avenue — tested positive for the virus. Throughout September and October, more than 50 cases were confirmed to be connected to the outbreak. The Crystal Spring location closed and the owners have filed bankruptcy on the remaining two restaurants involved.

Goldstein said the bankruptcy will help preserve jobs for the restaurant’s employees and allow the company to continue conducting business to meet the obligations it has to those affected by the outbreak.

James Hamlin, a Roanoke County man, died Oct. 8 from hepatitis A complications. A second victim, who has not been identified by the health department, also died from hepatitis A. Dianne Vest and her husband Larry Vest died Oct. 26 and Dec. 24, respectively. Larry Vest had been infected, but his death has not been confirmed to be related to the outbreak.

“Famous Anthony’s has had the privilege of serving this community for over 35 years,” owners said in a statement. “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.”

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Alison Graham covers Roanoke County and Salem news. She’s originally from Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

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