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LEGAL ISSUES

Politician Settles Olive Pit Lawsuit

Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat, has settled a lawsuit with a Congressional cafeteria.
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

SEIU International

Dennis Kucinich says he recieved "serious and permanent dental and oral injuries" after biting into a wrap in a Houston restaurant.

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Be afraid diners, be very afraid: It seems that seemingly innocuous salad items are the new blowfish. A few weeks after a Miami doctor sued Houston's restaurant  for not telling him how to properly eat an artichoke (and claiming he suffered physical and mental distress as a result), Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich sued his office cafeteria for serving him a sandwich that contained—gasp!—an unpitted olive.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, the vegan Kucinich says that he purchased a wrap from the cafeteria in the Longworth House Office Building in Washington D.C. in April 2008—and that "said sandwich wrap was unwholesome and unfit for human consumption, in that it was represented to contain pitted olives, yet unknown to plaintiff contained an unpitted olive which ...plaintiff could not visually detect prior to consumption."

The suit goes on to say that when Representative Kucinich bit into the renegade wrap, he sustained "serious and permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures," and that the incident caused "significant pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment." 

Though how much enjoyment one could actually get out of a vegan wrap to begin with is arguable (just kidding, vegans!), is it worth filing a suit seeking $150,000 in damages? Apparently so. The congressman just reached a settlement with the operators of the cafeteria. In a statement released today, Kucinich says his injury required "nearly two years, three dental surgeries and a substantial amount of money to rectify," and that none of the dental expenses were covered by insurance. "I feel the defendants have responded fairly and reasonably," he says. 

Do you think Kucinich was right to file suit? Is a cafeteria responsible for every stray olive pit?

Last updated: Jan 28, 2011

CLARISSA CRUZ is the Fashion Features Editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the former Style Editor of People magazine and has written for Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Food & Wine, and Budget Travel.
@clarissanyc1




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