PANAMA CITY BEACH-- A Nashville, Tennessee man is suing a popular Panama City Beach restaurant over the death of his wife.
Bobbie Sovia died 13 days after eating a raw oyster. Her husband's attorney claimed the restaurant didn't properly warn the couple about the potential dangers.
The Sovia's were vacationing at the beach in 2012. During their trip they ate a Dusty's Oyster Bar at least three times, consuming raw oysters. Bobbie reportedly ate one to two oysters on Tuesday, August 14th.
The couple returned to the restaurant on Wednesday and Thursday, but their attorney claimed Bobbie did not eat anymore oysters. Over the next several days, her health began to decline.
"She's not feeling that well on Thursday, she feels worse on Friday," Sovia's lawyer Elliot Olsen said. The Sovia' returned to Nashville where Bobbie was hospitalized.
She died on August 27. The autopsy found a bacteria infection called vibrio vulnificus, which is found in raw oysters.
Glenn Sovia's lawyer claimed the infection aggravated Bobbie Sovia's cirrhosis of liver, causing her death. He also claimed Dusty's Oyster Bar did not have the proper warning signs, advising customers with chronic illnesses against eating raw oysters.
Olsen said, "We are saying that they didn't warn people like Bobbie Sovia, who had a compromised liver. Florida law requires restaurants, like Dusty's, to post a very specific warning when they are serving gulf oysters." Olsen said the sign in 2012 read, "Consuming raw or undercooked foods can increase your risk of foodborne illness."
Olsen said, "It doesn't tell someone like Bobby Sovia, who has a pre-existing liver problem the risks. It doesn't tell her that there's a risk specific to her." Dusty's owners referred us to their attorney, Carl Schwait.
He declined an interview, but gave us a statement saying, "Dusty's Oyster Bar just received a copy of the complaint and we are investigating the allegations." Vibrio vulnificus is commonly found in oysters, but it's usually harmless for people with healthy immune systems.