Beefy Dude Suing White Castle

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This just in from the world where people do things they know are wrong: New York stockbroker Martin Kessman is suing the White Castle fastfood chain under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Why?

Because his beefy rump doesn’t fit in their chairs any more. The Suffern, N.Y., resident is 6 feet tall and weighs 290 pounds.

According to the legal complaint Kessman filed Sept. 7, he suffered so much embarassment when a White Castle booth refused his approaches that he decided to launch a federal lawsuit and give interviews to national news reporters.

Uhuh…

“They’re stationary booths,” Kessman, 64, told The New York Post. “I’m not humongous, [but] I’m a big guy. I could not wedge myself in.”

Note to Marty Kessman: don’t under-estimate yourself, you’re pretty friggin humungous.

Have you considered eating less and exercising more?

How about just using the drive thru window?

The painful truth is that nuisance lawsuits like this are a great way to shake down a company. These money grabs are also one of the reasons the legal system is overwhelmed and decent hard-working people who can’t afford legal representation have to sit in court all day on even the tiniest matter.

coffeeA jury awarded $2.86 million in damages to Stella Liebeck in 1994, two years after the 79-year-old burned herself with hot coffee at a McDonald’s restaurant. The New Mexico woman placed the cup between her knees at the drive-through window just before she was burned.

Thanks in part to Lieback we now have more warnings on cups of hot coffee that essentially say “hot coffee is hot.” If Kessman prevails those useless warnings may soon be joined by “Warning: fatty foods are fattening – make you humungous.”

Kessman’s initial run-in with White Castle seating allegedly occurred at the restaurant in Nanuet, New York, on April 20, 2009. He was so embarrassed that he kept eating at the restaurant in the following months, but had his wife pick up his sliders and fetch them home.

Still, the temptation to sit in one of those tiny chairs was so overpowering that Kessman allegedly returned in December 2009 with a group of friends – aka witnesses.

“The first thing I did when I tried to squeeze my body in was to slam my knee into the metal posts under the table, causing great pain,” Kessman said in a letter to White Castle. “This added insult to injury.”

Actually, it’s more along the lines of “injury to insult,” but this case is a ridiculous abuse of the legal system either way and a perfect example of the victim mentality that has contaminated our national mindset. God forbid Kessman should have employed coping skills to this challenge. 

I.E., if the friggin table is too small don’t try to sit in it. Instead, go somewhere else.

What’s Kessman going to do next, sue the makers of skinny jeans?

How about leotards?

All he has to do is try one on, look at himself in the mirror and claim that he’s been scarred for life. Instant damages.

The possibilities are endless. How about the people who make kid’s tables?

They’re got money.

How about infant car seats and high chairs?

What about the folks that make the livingroom furniture you stub your toes on?

Come on man…

Kessman’s lawsuit was filed Sept. 7 by the lawfirm of Condon & Associates. It claims Kessman has been a loyal White Castle customer since 1959 and the only filed suit after receiving three “patronizing responses” to his complaint from the corporate offices in Columbus, Ohio.

Translation: I’m a somebody, I make zeros for a living, and I merit a higher grade of corporate ass-kissing.”

I’d say Kessman’s super-sized rump has already been kissed enough.

According to Jamie Richardson, vice president of corporate relations at White Castle, the offending booth has been replaced with a table and chairs.

“Within days of being made aware of the customer’s concern back in April, 2009, we provided the customer with a list of locations with different seating arrangements that might better suit him,” Richardson said in a statement. “It’s also our practice to offer a chair to customers who find this option more appealing.”

Here’s the rub, the ADA provides legal protection to anyone who is discriminated against as a result of a “physical or mental impairment.” At first blush this suggests being as dumb-as-the-day-is-long qualifies you as a victim.

The painful truth is that the ADA was never meant for this kind of nonsense . Every frivolous allegation diminishes the societal response to real discrimination, much as it did in the childhood fable about the boy who cried wolf.

No one should have to tell Kessman that.

If he wins this suit on the basis that he voluntarily chose to eat so much he outgrew the world around him we could see a flood of similar ADA complaints afterward from people who have chosen to disable themselves by over-indulging in everything from food to alcohol. How long before someone is telling the court “your honor, I fell down and banged my head on the curb outside the liquor store a few minutes after gulping down a bottle of Jack Daniels. I’m a victim and I need to get paid.”

Come on man …

If judges can’t find a way to control their desire for media attention by indulging these frivolous cases it’s time for Congress to fix the problem. All that’s needed is a tweak in the ADA to the effect that if the impairment was voluntary and the alleged damage resulted from the knowing action or inaction of the alleged victim, they’re not entitled to legal protection. Instead, they should get a swift kick in their wannabee victim rump.

We need to establish some minimum standards here.

The Kessman case should receive summary dismissal from the judge. Cause let’s face it, if the McDonald’s judge had done his duty properly by reducing the Liebeck damage award to something reasonable, instead of grandstanding for the media, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.

All he had to do was have the company cover Liebeck’s medical expenses and ask her if she’s ever heard of this new thing called “a cupholder.”

The bottom line is that the rest of us need access to the legal system too. And older Americans with a lot of time on their hands like Kessler and Liebeck need to stop hogging the courts.

You have the freedom to eat yourself into obesity, gamble yourself into the poorhouse, drink yourself into oblivion, and dose yourself to death with prescription drugs in this country. But you should not have the freedom to burden the businesses you patronize with the consequences of those irresponsible decisions or to clog the courts with nonsense just to entertain and assert yourself.

And no one should have to tell you that.

The bottom line is that Kessman deserves to be compensated for his pain and suffering, but with a solution. Not a payoff.

So here goes: “Hey Kessman, fatty foods are fattening. Have you considered a salad?

We can put tasty croutons on it for you.

Here comes the choochoo train…”