Odds & Ends
Dateline: New York—A 290-pound stockbroker is suing the White Castle hamburger chain—not because the restaurant made him fat, but because the establishment’s booths aren’t big enough for him. Martin Kessman, 64, is seeking unspecified financial damages, claiming that his local White Castle is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Kessman’s disability? He’s too large to fit into the seats at White Castle. Kessman’s claims come from an April 2009 visit to a White Castle location near his home in Nanuet. “I’m not humongous, [but] I’m a big guy,” Kessman told the New York Post. “I could not wedge myself in.” Kessman wrote multiple letters to White Castle’s corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, complaining about the inadequate seating. In the two years since, the company has not redesigned the location, so Kessman is suing. If you think Kessman is boycotting the chain over its fat-person discrimination policy, think again. Kessman told the Post he sends his wife on burger runs to White Castle now, because he’s too embarrassed to return.
Dateline: Florida—A homeless senior citizen in a wheelchair was attacked by a 22-year-old woman claiming to be a vampire at a vacant Hooters restaurant in St. Petersburg. Milton Ellis, 69, told police he met Josephine Smith on the streets where she said she was waiting for a relative from Pensacola to come pick her up. Ellis invited Smith onto the porch of the empty restaurant to get out of the rain. “He was staying near an overhang near the vacant Hooters restaurant, so he thought it might be a good place for her to stay,” spokesperson Mike Puetz of the St. Petersburg Police Department told the St. Petersburg Times. According to Ellis, he fell asleep in his motorized wheelchair and awoke to find Smith on top of him. “I’m a vampire. I am going to eat you,” Smith reportedly said and then bit Ellis on his face, arm and lip. The bloodied Ellis was able to escape and call 911. He was given stitches to close his wounds at a hospital and later released. Officers located Smith, bloody and half-naked, near the scene of the attack. Smith told authorities she had no recollection of the attack and could not explain why she was naked and covered in blood. She has been charged with aggravated battery on an elderly person and is being held in Pinellas County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Dateline: Montana—A barbecue restaurant is suing a publishing company after the business was listed in the telephone book under the category “Animal Carcass Removal.” The listing for Bar 3 Bar-B-Q first appeared in 2009 in the Dex phone book yellow pages. The listing was republished in other printed and online telephone directories in 2010. In January of this year, the restaurant’s phone book listing was even featured on a segment of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” Restaurant owner Hunter Lacey says business at his restaurants in Bozeman and nearby Belgrade have dropped off significantly since the listing came out. According to Lacey’s lawsuit, the restaurants lost $18,254 in 2009 and 2010. Lacey’s lawsuit says a Dex Media employee published the mean-spirited listing after the business owner declined to buy an advertisement with him. “We regret the publication of the listing and we continue to engage in every reasonable effort we can to ensure that our listings are accurate,” Dex spokesperson Chris Hardan said in a statement. In Dex Media’s response to the lawsuit, the company said the restaurant “assumed the risk of errors” by authorizing its telephone number to be listed in phone directories—which it tacitly did by purchasing telephone service through a local telephone service provider. Dex also said that someone from the restaurant “negatively berated” a Dex employee and should have foreseen that could have negative consequences. Also, Dex argues that it is not responsible for the conduct of its employes if they operate outside the scope of their employment. Lacey filed the lawsuit in August, and the case was moved to Federal court earlier this month.
Dateline: Texas—A teenager on trial for aggravated assault probably didn’t help his case when he took a whiz in the presiding judge’s trash can. Corey Darnell Webb, 17, was standing trial in Tyler, Texas, for shooting a police officer during an attempted escape from the Smith County Juvenile Attention Center. Judge Kerry Russell scolded the teen once for muttering loudly during lawyers’ arguments on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 31. When the court adjourned for lunch and the jury began clearing the courtroom, Webb walked over to a trash can and urinated in it. Local TV footage shows the teen smirking as he unbuckled his belt and approached the trash can. “I don’t know how you were raised, but peeing in a trash can in a state district courtroom is inappropriate behavior,” Judge Russell told Webb after he was done. “This is the second conversation we have had. There won’t be a third.” When the trial resumed, Webb decided to plead guilty to the charges. He will be sentenced later this month.