Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rep. Dennis Kucinich Demonstrates Why We Need Tort Reform

Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich is suing an olive pit.

The horror of it all defies any rational explanation. How can we, the greatest country in the world, allow this travesty? Must we forever be victims of the obvious danger that olive pits pose to our nation? How much longer must we proud Americans cower in fear of our veggie wraps, quivering, afraid to take another bite? We must rise up and speak truth to pits whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself…

Hell, even I can’t keep that up for very long. My Snark Generator just died.

In case you haven’t heard, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich really is suing the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria over an olive pit. The pit in question was contained in a sandwich wrap he bought there on or about April 17, 2008.

He’s asking for $150,000 in damages from the cafeteria. Here’s the PDF of the complaint.

It’s difficult to find a place to start ridiculing this lawsuit. I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I do, however, see myself as a victim of these sorts of suits for one simple reason: I am forced to pay for this in the form of higher prices, even though I had nothing to do with it. Lawsuits such as these are responsible for far more damage, though: more than one suit has forced a business to close, causing unecessary hardship for the innocent employees.

When you read the complaint, you’ll find just a few absurdities. Here’s one, “Said sandwich wrap was unwholesome and unfit for human consumption” for containing an olive pit.


If I’m not mistaken, the pit is an integral part of an olive. Haven't we been eating olives for a while, like a few thousand years? I can’t recall any instance of anyone swallowing an olive pit that resulted in more than surprise, at least among anyone I know. How about you?

So that claim of unwholesomeness seems to be contrived. In fact, a whole olive contains a pit, so wouldn't an olive with a pit be considered "wholesome" as it contains all of its parts? Sometimes I think I missed my calling...

Reading further in the complaint, we are informed that the olive pit in question is a “Dangerous Substance.”

Hmm, again. Maybe the opening snark wasn’t so far off the mark after all.

Let’s see if I have this right. An olive pit is a dangerous substance? How? If you eat one, do you die? That would certainly qualify as dangerous to most people.

As for suffering “serious and permanent injuries” as Kucinich claims to have suffered, what was the nature of these injuries? Were they so serious as to prevent him from going to work? Were they so serious as to prevent him from, oh say, running for President after the incident? No?

Hmmm once more.

In addition, doesn’t Mr. Kucinich have a pretty good medical and dental plan as a member of Congress? Better than you and I have access to?

Confronted with such outrageous claims about the dangers of an olive pit, one is left to wonder: have we gone batshit crazy?

In a sane world, a judge would throw out this case and have Kucinich arrested for contempt of court for wasting time and tax money on something that has happened many times to many others without harm. If this is what goes on in an American court of law, we are indeed well screwed.

This is an excellent example of the twisting of truth. There is nothing in this case that should be considered in court. It’s also a good reason for this Congress to pass a bill making these types of cases illegal. We can fix this mess. The question is how we got into it in the first place. I don’t remember telling my representative that I wanted this type of legal abuse going on in court.

The judge in this case has a unique opportunity to throw this case out and in doing so, restore a measure of sanity to our court system. The cafeteria’s defense lawyer also has a chance to poke some serious holes in this case. If it were my business that was the victim of this kind of frivolous lawsuit, I’d countersue.

Folks, this nonsense has to stop. It should stop here.

It’s a sad statement when we have a Representative in Washington who feels the need to sue someone because can’t chew his food properly.

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