Update: Kucinich settles olive-pit suit

by Walter Olson on January 29, 2011

The Ohio lawmaker gives his side of the story. Earlier here.

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02.01.11 at 3:52 pm

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1 Bill Poser 01.29.11 at 2:15 pm

The link to where he gives his side of the story doesn’t seem to lead to such an article.

2 Smart Dude 01.29.11 at 5:42 pm

Funny how a little Internet exposure of misconduct produces an instant resolution.

“Daylight is the best disinfectant.”

3 Walter Olson 01.29.11 at 6:12 pm

BP> Sorry, links were reversed, fixed now.

4 Bumper 01.29.11 at 10:22 pm

From reading his side it sounds like he had a better chance (and reason) suing for dental malpractice than for the olive pit. And if this is an example of vaunted health care coverage that congress has, I can only imagine what the steaming pile of it Obamacare must be.

5 kat 01.29.11 at 10:51 pm

Reading his explanation, he seems to make the same error that many do–suggesting that the extent of the injury establishes liability. He says absolutely nothing about why he believes the cafeteria should be liable for a naturally occurring substance in food.

6 Jason Barney 01.30.11 at 2:22 am

I have to disagree. Although olive pits are naturally occurring, they’re not reasonably expected in a sandwich, served with olives or not. Kucinich’s suit is meritorious–although as always the amount of damages can be disputed (I suspect the suit settled for less than the $150K claimed). The claim is not subject to a negligence analysis–rather strict (products) liability–is the product (food) defective? If a sandwich has an olive pit, then yes–it’s defective. If an olive has an olive pit–no. The former, you owe damages–the latter, not.

7 Bill Poser 01.30.11 at 3:28 pm

Is it foreseeable that someone would bite down on a sandwich hard enough for an olive pit to break a tooth? I wouldn’t think so, unless this falls under the eggshell skull doctrine.

8 Ace of Sevens 01.30.11 at 3:40 pm

I’d say it’s foreseeable. This is hardly the first time it happened. A local restaurant won’t put whole olives in your sandwich (you have to do it yourself) for this very reason.

9 Bill Alexander 01.30.11 at 5:51 pm

Just because a restaurant won’t put olives in your sandwich doesn’t mean it is foreseeable someone would break a tooth. Just the existence of the litigation industry is enough for some to stop putting olives in. My local burger joint requires a signature if I want rare hamburger in my bacon blue cheese burger. The actual odds of injury from rare hamburger is very low.

10 Ace of Sevens 01.30.11 at 5:58 pm

The odds are fairly low, but the fact it’s happened to plenty of people before makes it foreseeable. In fact, there have been previous court cases about this issue.

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/articles/mceowen/McEowOpinionsSept06d.html

Just do a search for broken tooth olive pit and you’ll find plenty of hits about other incidences.

11 Bumper 01.30.11 at 7:45 pm

In my little part of the USA they sell a sandwich called the Muffaletta. They probably sell more that million a year, maybe more if you count wedding receptions. It’s basically olives (three kinds) and luncheon meats. In all the years I have lived here I have never heard of a broken tooth from an olive pit lawsuit. That not to say it never happens, just if anyone ever sued it never made the news. From rereading “his side of the story” it sounds like he must have bad teeth, as the fractured tooth was the support for his bridge, btw, support teeth are notorious for “giving way” since they take the torsional impact of the appliance as well the normal impact of chewing.

Shame the vendors didn’t just go for a jury trial, ole Dennie K might not have been victorious. Although I’m sure whoever lets the contracts for the congressional dining rooms put the word out to settle and settle quick.

12 wfjag 01.31.11 at 8:47 am

Bumper, describing a Muffaletta as “basically olives (three kinds) and luncheon meats” doubtless means that your immortal soul is condemned to eternity in “Fast Food Hell” (eternity with 72 McNuggets and no sauce). For those unfamiliar with the Muff (or, half-Muff – since unless you’re a very hungry NFL Linebacker, it’s impossible for a mere mortal human to eat a whole Muff at one time), see the attached review and picture of a half-Muff. It’s Olive Salad (and certain cold cuts and cheeses), as well as the bread that makes Central Grocery’s Muffaletta one of New Orleans’ unforgettable experiences. http://www.roadfood.com/reviews/overview.aspx?refid=122

13 DensityDuck 01.31.11 at 7:23 pm

“Although olive pits are naturally occurring, they’re not reasonably expected in a sandwich, served with olives or not. ”

Indeed, if olive pits would be “reasonably expected” in a sandwich containing olives, then you could probably argue that chicken bones could be “reasonably expected” in a sandwich containing chicken.

“But wait,” you say, “chicken bones are obviously inedible and nobody would expect to find one in a sandwich!” Well, yes, but the same goes for olive pits, right?

14 Scott 01.31.11 at 9:30 pm

Is it possible that the tooth was ready to break anyway?

15 Bumper 01.31.11 at 9:50 pm

Nah, I’m just not a major fan of muffalettas, although my wife is, and no doubt Central in the Mecca of muffelattas. Give me a good fried shrimp or oyster po-boy any day. But in my defense when you are surrounded by mom-and-pop places that put out food that would be four star in any other city you sometimes pass on the low hanging fruit, or sandwich as is the case here. (While I am no fan of McNuggets, their Buffalo sauce is very tasty.)

The French Quarter Festival and Jazz Fest are both coming up soon, never to early to make plans.

16 wfjag 02.02.11 at 9:40 am

Bumper:
Baucus the Beneficent Lord has heard your contrition and forgives you, provided you do appropriate penance. You must consume a Fergie at Mother’s, with a Barq’s (& not a heathen Root Beer).

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