Tooth of the matter

One member of the House of Representatives sued Restaurant Associates for a broken tooth.

By Paul King, Editorial Director

While trolling the Web for news late last week, I came across a story from The Washington Post regarding one-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. The Ohio Democrat, a member of the House of Representatives, had sued Restaurant Associates for $150,000 over a broken tooth.

Restaurant Associates, one of the Compass Group family of contract companies, manages foodservice at the Longworth House Office Building where Kucinich eats lunch. So the story goes, Kucinich bit into a sandwich wrap one day and damaged his tooth on an olive pit. The incident, which occurred three years ago, was recently settled out of court, with terms undisclosed.

This, of course, is every foodservice operator’s nightmare, and the fact that the injured party is a well-known Congressman makes it all the more unfortunate for RA. Now, without knowing the particulars of the incident, such as how soon after the unfortunate bite did Kucinich complain to the cafeteria staff, I can’t say whether Kucinich should have pursued this case.

But later in the week I found a slideshow on the Web site for The New Republic, that attempted to put this suit in perspective. It chronicled nine other times in the past decade when Kucinich either filed suit or threatened to sue one party or another. Included were suits against the publisher of his campaign biography, whom he claimed didn’t release the book in a timely manner and didn’t market it heavily enough, and his own political party, over a “blind loyalty oath.” Both suits were dismissed.

After reviewing that slideshow, I came to the conclusion that the Restaurant Associates suit actually was one of Kucinich’s less frivolous legal actions. And RA does find itself in grand company—since 1999 Kucnich’s lawsuits have included two sitting presidents.