Paul Newton Jr., a lawyer in Gulfport, Mississippi, sued Popeye’s after he required emergency surgery to remove a chunk of fried chicken from his throat last November. He claims the fast-food restaurant was negligent and caused his near fatal accident because it didn’t include a plastic knife along with the “spork” in his drive-through order.
Newton says he consumed the meal (two chicken breasts, an order of red beans and rice, a biscuit and a soft drink…YUM!) in his office, and had to “hold a chicken breast in his hands and to tear off pieces thereof with his teeth.”In the lawsuit , the lawyer maintains Popeyes had a duty to provide the appropriate utensils so customers will be able “to cut their purchased food orders into appropriate portions.”
Newton abandoned his chicken suit–well, not his chicken suit, but his chicken lawsuit— the Huffington Post reported, after receiving “extreme comments directed to me and my family.”
Like “Learn to eat!”, maybe?
“I continue to believe that the facts demonstrate an unsafe condition to the public that could easily be solved by the responsible parties at very little cost. I am hopeful that my filing of the court proceeding results in such remedial actions,” Newton said.
Have you ever tried to cut chicken with a plastic knife? The next suit would argue that it’s negligent to not to give out metal knives with chicken breasts. Then someone would cut themselves with the new knives, leading to another lawsuit. Or something.
Some lawyers are unable to process the concept that sometimes, people are responsible for their misfortunes. Companies have to pay to defend lawsuits like this one, or settle it. Then you and I have to pay more, or people lose their jobs, or both.
Despite the fact that this is an uncommonly stupid lawsuit, it is not frivolous. Even an idiotic suit isn’t frivolous if it includes “a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.” This incompetent chewer is arguing, presumably sincerely, for a “Duty to Provide Plastic Knives.”
This is one area, incidentally, where the internet and social media improve society. Really bad lawsuits get nationwide attention, attaching a real cost to abuse of process. True, lawyers get unfairly criticized too, because there is a lot laymen don’t know. Still, on balance it is a good thing that lawyers inclined to file suits like this one have to think twice.
Pointer: ABA Journal