The number of lawsuits filed on behalf of diners sickened...

The number of lawsuits filed on behalf of diners sickened at the now-shuttered Kumo Sushi & Steakhouse in Stony Brook stands at at least a dozen, plaintiff attorneys said Wednesday. Credit: Morgan Campbell

The owners of a shuttered Stony Brook steakhouse and sushi restaurant where food poisoned 28 diners are facing at least a dozen lawsuits from customers who fell ill, according to plaintiff lawyers.

At least nine lawsuits were filed Tuesday and Wednesday against Kumo Sushi & Steakhouse and its parent company, MDBL Corp, on behalf of a teenage dance team of about 10 girls who all became ill earlier this month after eating at the restaurant, said Joseph Dell, a Garden City attorney for the plaintiffs.

The attorneys are each seeking damages to be determined to cover medical costs and pain and suffering, Dell said.

“They have an obvious case when the Department of Health calls it a mass casualty event, and there were prior complaints about the food and the reaction to it,” Dell said of the plaintiffs.

The Suffolk County Health Department said the foodborne illness that sickened customers Sept. 9 was likely caused by mishandled and improperly stored rice, the Suffolk County Health Department has said. At least a dozen people required emergency treatment.

The restaurant announced its permanent closure Saturday following the initial lawsuits and reports of more than two dozen customers falling ill.

“Before closing … Kumo proudly catered to members of the Long Island community for more than 12 years, serving more than one million meals. The health, safety and well-being of our customers has always been our top priority,” the restaurant said in a statement Wednesday.

The statement continued: “The entire team at Kumo expresses our deepest regret and we apologize to those impacted by the recent situation at our restaurant. We are aware of legal actions that have been taken and we are working with our legal counsel to address them. We have full faith in the courts and the legal system.”

Lauren Hespos, 47, of Holtsville, said she dropped off her 15-year-old daughter at the restaurant for a friend’s 13th birthday party Sept. 9. The girls on the dance team, who go to Sachem schools, ate hibachi and then reported stomach pain, with some suffering from persistent vomiting, according to Hespos.

She said her daughter had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital after feeling lethargic and experiencing stomach and chest pain as well as chills.

The girls were all treated with anti-nausea medication.

“Even the most benign food choices can be dangerous and we’re less likely to go out to eat. She’s still bothered and won’t go near rice or any food associated with it,” Hespos said. “This can’t happen again. The restaurant needs to be fined and I don’t want to see them open under a new name again. They need to make sure their food is safe.”

Three other lawsuits were filed Sept. 13 on behalf of a Setauket mother and daughter who experienced projectile vomiting and another man who got sick after ordering takeout from Kumo.

The restaurant's owners also face 15 health code violations related to the illnesses, including eight for foodborne illness risk factors, according to the health department.

Plaintiff attorneys said the lawsuits would continue despite the restaurant closing down for good, and they would seek damages from the parent company and liability insurance.

“The cases don’t get dismissed because the restaurant closes,” said attorney Scott Harford, representing three people who have filed suit. “There are plenty of food poisoning cases where the restaurant closes. These people only got sick less than two weeks ago, We don’t know the long-term effects of what’s happening.”

The owners of a shuttered Stony Brook steakhouse and sushi restaurant where food poisoned 28 diners are facing at least a dozen lawsuits from customers who fell ill, according to plaintiff lawyers.

At least nine lawsuits were filed Tuesday and Wednesday against Kumo Sushi & Steakhouse and its parent company, MDBL Corp, on behalf of a teenage dance team of about 10 girls who all became ill earlier this month after eating at the restaurant, said Joseph Dell, a Garden City attorney for the plaintiffs.

The attorneys are each seeking damages to be determined to cover medical costs and pain and suffering, Dell said.

“They have an obvious case when the Department of Health calls it a mass casualty event, and there were prior complaints about the food and the reaction to it,” Dell said of the plaintiffs.

The Suffolk County Health Department said the foodborne illness that sickened customers Sept. 9 was likely caused by mishandled and improperly stored rice, the Suffolk County Health Department has said. At least a dozen people required emergency treatment.

The restaurant announced its permanent closure Saturday following the initial lawsuits and reports of more than two dozen customers falling ill.

“Before closing … Kumo proudly catered to members of the Long Island community for more than 12 years, serving more than one million meals. The health, safety and well-being of our customers has always been our top priority,” the restaurant said in a statement Wednesday.

The statement continued: “The entire team at Kumo expresses our deepest regret and we apologize to those impacted by the recent situation at our restaurant. We are aware of legal actions that have been taken and we are working with our legal counsel to address them. We have full faith in the courts and the legal system.”

Lauren Hespos, 47, of Holtsville, said she dropped off her 15-year-old daughter at the restaurant for a friend’s 13th birthday party Sept. 9. The girls on the dance team, who go to Sachem schools, ate hibachi and then reported stomach pain, with some suffering from persistent vomiting, according to Hespos.

She said her daughter had to be taken by ambulance to a hospital after feeling lethargic and experiencing stomach and chest pain as well as chills.

The girls were all treated with anti-nausea medication.

“Even the most benign food choices can be dangerous and we’re less likely to go out to eat. She’s still bothered and won’t go near rice or any food associated with it,” Hespos said. “This can’t happen again. The restaurant needs to be fined and I don’t want to see them open under a new name again. They need to make sure their food is safe.”

Three other lawsuits were filed Sept. 13 on behalf of a Setauket mother and daughter who experienced projectile vomiting and another man who got sick after ordering takeout from Kumo.

The restaurant's owners also face 15 health code violations related to the illnesses, including eight for foodborne illness risk factors, according to the health department.

Plaintiff attorneys said the lawsuits would continue despite the restaurant closing down for good, and they would seek damages from the parent company and liability insurance.

“The cases don’t get dismissed because the restaurant closes,” said attorney Scott Harford, representing three people who have filed suit. “There are plenty of food poisoning cases where the restaurant closes. These people only got sick less than two weeks ago, We don’t know the long-term effects of what’s happening.”

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