Like most of the things on the menu at Olive Garden, the “stuffed mushrooms” are full of melted cheese. If you’ve ever eaten a pizza roll or a mozzarella stick, you most definitely know that eating cheese-stuffed things as they’re meant to be eaten—i.e., fresh and hot—comes with the distinct risk of burning the roof of your mouth or rendering your tongue numb and useless. If you’ve been burned once, you might have learned to check your food before you wreck, well, yourself.
Served to your standard adult, most foods don’t warrant a temperature warning. Don’t touch the hot plate, sure—especially when it comes to the dangerously-hot cast iron pans for chain restaurant fajitas—but it’s typically safe to assume that restaurant food is hot, and you should wait a second before digging in. One Texas woman, however, claims a lack of warning that Olive Garden’s stuffed mushrooms “were particularly hot” caused “severe burns.” She’s now suing the restaurant for $200,000 to $1 million in damages.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Tuesday that Danny Howard of Fort Worth filed a lawsuit against Olive Garden last week. According to the lawsuit, Howard ordered the stuffed mushrooms in August 2017. She wasn’t told that the “mushrooms were particularly hot or (carried) the risk to cause severe burns,” so the mushroom burned her mouth and then got stuck in her throat, where it prevented her from breathing or speaking. Howard allegedly threw up in the restaurant and went home.
The problems didn’t end there, according to the lawsuit. Allegedly, Howard tried to drive to the emergency room, but felt her throat closing, so she called 911 instead. She ended up at a local hospital, and then the burn unit at Parkland Hospital in Dallas by way of Careflight helicopter.
Because of Olive Garden’s alleged negligence, Howard is suing for damages. (MUNCHIES has reached out to Olive Garden for comment, but has not yet received a response.) Aside from the physical harm Howards claims she experienced, it’s a safe bet that the medical treatment and travel ended up being kinda pricey, but the Star-Telegram didn’t include her medical diagnosis or the cost of the whole ordeal.
We can only guess that this will end up among the lists of “ridiculous” restaurant lawsuits, of which there are so many that you can find them broken down by both all-time ridiculousness and by year. To be fair to Howard’s experience, those tend to be bizarre emotional slights, like the couple who sued McDonald’s because they considered its failure to discount their cheese-less burgers as having “suffered injury” (yes, it happened).
But still, water is wet, the sky is blue, melted cheese is hot.