Owners Charlie Eich, right, and Renee Eich pose for a portrait in the River Drifters Bar & Grill on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The new restaurant and paddle rental spot on Suck Creek Road opens July 2.

Note: This article was updated Aug. 17, 2018, at 3:10 p.m. with a statement from co-owner Charlie Eich.

A woman is suing River Drifters Bar & Grill after contaminated drinking water led to more than 87 reported illnesses.

Tina Rogers filed a lawsuit Wednesday afternoon in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court. The Hamilton County resident was hospitalized as a result of drinking the restaurant's water, incurred medical bills, missed work and experienced "significant gastrological distress," according to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit names the restaurant and co-owners Charlie and Renee Eich and claims the "defendants created a dangerous condition by serving and utilizing nonpotable well water for the Restaurant."

The lawsuit is seeking compensation for personal injuries and damages including pain and suffering, medical bills, physical impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and loss of income. 


River Drifters lawsuit


Rogers was unsure of the extent of her injuries at the time of the filing but claimed they were "serious and debilitating."

The Eich family found out about the lawsuit in a Facebook post from a local media outlet.

"I'm not surprised but disappointed," Charlie Eich said. "When something like this happens it brings out the best and worst in people. Im thankful for the outpouring of support we've received from our friends, family and the community."

The owners should have disclosed to the health department during initial inspections that they used well water and not city water, according to the lawsuit, but both the owners and the health department said they were not asked about their water source. 

The health department has said it will now begin asking businesses if they use well water during inspections. The business is the only restaurant inspected by the health department that uses well water. 

The husband and wife closed the kitchen until a new water filtration system is installed and fully operating.

Contact staff writer Mark Pace at or 423-757-6659. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP.