A woman in Forth Worth, Texas is suing Olive Garden after she choked on a stuffed mushroom, severely burning her throat.
The incident took place at an Olive Garden restaurant in Tarrant County, according to a report by the Star Telegram. Danny Howard claims that she went to the restaurant on Aug. 11, 2017, and the trip nearly led to her death. In her lawsuit — filed on March 8 — she alleges that the restaurant failed to warn her about the mushrooms.
Howard ordered the stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer. According to the suit, her server gave no warning that the “mushrooms were particularly hot or (carried) the risk to cause severe burns.” Howard took a bite of the dish, which she claims burned her mouth on contact.
The mushroom then became lodged in Howard's throat. She claims that she choked and briefly stopped breathing, while the scalding hot food burned her throat in the place where it had landed as well.
According to the lawsuit, Howard “frantically shuffled through the restaurant in need of help,” but she could not speak. Her airways finally cleared when she vomited in a kitchen station.
Her suffering was not over, however, as Howard reportedly still felt pain when she got home. She decided to drive herself to the emergency room. According to the suit, Howard's throat was closing again at this time. Not wanting to drive impaired, Howard called 911 on the road.
Howard was then taken to the Harris Methodist Hospital, and from there she was flown on a Careflight to the Parkland Hospital Burn Unit in Dallas. There is no word on the extent of Howard's injuries or the specifics of her treatment.
Almost two years later, Howard is prepared to sue the restaurant. She is reportedly seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in damages from Olive Garden. The restaurant chain has yet to issue a comment on the lawsuit.
They’d probably win cause a) theyre part of a corporation & b) consumer’s stupidity isnt a viable strategy to win a case with. pic.twitter.com/L5cyHHQNBB— Derek White (@derekjwhite01) March 19, 2019
As the story of the lawsuit spread, it drew skeptical responses on social media. Many responded suggesting that Howard herself should have gauged the temperature before taking such a big bite. Many also reasoned that it would be difficult to win a lawsuit against a massive corporation with access to extensive legal counsel.
"They’d probably win cause a) they're part of a corporation & b) consumer’s stupidity isn't a viable strategy to win a case with," one person tweeted.
I would hold off on criticism here. She was flown to a burn unit.— Jon Easter (@johnnystir) March 18, 2019
"I would hold off on criticism here," countered another. "She was flown to a burn unit."