Dave’s Sushi restaurant in Bozeman, MT, voluntarily decided to close the restaurant in mid-late April 2023 after the recent deaths of Donna Ventura (64) and William Lewis (74) who died a week apart. In addition, as it has been reported that other customers disclose that they too had gotten food poisoning after eating at Dave’s Sushi restaurant.
It has not been confirmed how many customers have been affected and become sick after eating at the restaurant but it will remain closed until further notice, ostensibly until the investigation is concluded.
What is the problem at Dave’s Sushi restaurant?
A health department inspection performed on April 18, 2023 revealed that Dave’s Sushi restaurant was in violation of a number of health codes. These included improper temperature control for some foods, a finding that utensils and food-contact surfaces were “unsafe,” and the restaurant was not maintaining shellstock tags for shellfish imports as required by law.
What did Donna Ventura and William Lewis die from?
While the deaths have not directly been linked to the restaurant and the toxicology reports have not yet come back, it is suspected that the common ingredient that was ingested by the customers are the FDA approved cultured morel mushrooms that were used in the restaurant’s April 17th special rolls. These morel mushrooms had only been introduced in the days before William Lewis died. It has also been reported that the health department received at least four reports that foodborne illnesses related to eating at Dave’s Sushi between April 1 and April 10, 2023.
Dave’s Sushi released a statement reading,“We’ve been actively working with the Gallatin City-County Health Department and will continue to work with them as they investigate this situation. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the deceased as well as those who have been reported ill.”
While the owners also own two other restaurants, Jam! and Revelry in Bozeman, it has been confirmed by the Gallatin City-County Health Department that the food borne illnesses are solely isolated to Dave’s Sushi.
When will Dave’s Sushi re-open?
Health officials have not yet clarified the pathogen that caused this outbreak and it has not yet been confirmed how many customers have been affected and become sick after eating at the restaurant. As such, it will remain closed until further notice, or until the investigation is concluded, but in the meantime the owners of Dave’s Sushi restaurant have stated that they will be working diligently to address the problem.
Do the Victims have recourse against the restaurant or mushroom supplier?
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle story about Dave’s Sushi, who spoke to food poisoning lawyer Anthony Coveny of Ron Simon and Associates about liability, “Coveny said that he’s also gotten several calls from customers of Dave’s’ and noted ‘wrongful death cases often get up to seven figures, and the claims against the restaurant will likely exceed their insurance policy, Coveny said. In most cases like these, plaintiffs will settle out of court, and while it’s rare for an implicated restaurant to have to file for bankruptcy, it’s not impossible.” Coveny also said that the supplier of the mushrooms may also be liable if the are found to have been “adulterated,” a term often used by the FDA.