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Michigan man suing Olive Garden after finding rat's foot in bowl of soup

Michigan man suing Olive Garden after finding rat's foot in bowl of soup
Michigan man suing Olive Garden after finding rat's foot in bowl of soup 02:20

WARREN, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - An Oakland County man is suing Olive Garden for more than $25,000 after he claims he found a rat's foot in a bowl of minestrone soup at a Metro Detroit location of the restaurant.

An Oakland County man has filed a lawsuit against Olive Garden after he found a rat's foot in his bowl of minestrone soup he was eating at a Warren location.  Gwinn Legal PLLC

Thomas Howie, 54, filed the lawsuit after he visited the Olive Garden restaurant at 30600 Van Dyke Ave. in Warren with some friends between 6 and 6:30 p.m. on March 11.

"I felt something stab me in the mouth, and I wasn't sure the first thought was a needle," said Howie. 

According to the lawsuit, as Howie was eating a bowl of minestrone, he felt a stabbing pain in his mouth. When he tried to swallow, he realized an object was hooked to the inside of his cheek and said he threw up at the booth. 

"Regurgitated and leaned over to the side and found the wall. Yeah, once I realized that that thing was in my mouth and I was chewing," Howie said. 

He then spit out the object and realized it was a rat's hairy and clawed leg when he looked at his napkin. Seeing the leg caused him to vomit.

One of his friends asked for a manager, and when one stopped at the table, he said he didn't know what he could do and tried to take the rat's foot away, according to the lawsuit. 

A second employee also believed to be a manager, came to the table and commented, "That's funny. We don't even put meat in the minestrone."

Howie then said he called the Warren Police Department and later visited urgent care. 

"I went to the doctors and got a tetanus shot and some antibiotic mouth rise," Howie said. 

The lawsuit says Howie got little sleep that night, and in the days following the incident, he felt nauseated, had diarrhea, and felt like he couldn't eat anything except crackers.

In the weeks and months after, he suffered from increased anxiety and depression, felt like he couldn't eat meat, and stopped going to restaurants unless he could see the food being prepared. 

An inspection by the health department didn't happen until two days after Howie had found the rat's leg in his soup.

However, a company spokesperson for Olive Garden said a health inspection was done shortly after, and nothing was found to be in violation nor did the restaurant ever have issues with rats. 

"We have no reason to believe there is any validity to this claim," said Rich Jeffers, a spokesperson for Olive Garden. 

Jeffers also said the company is committed to refuting the claims in court. 

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