Lawyer Wisely Drops Chicken-Choking Case

Lawyer Paul Newton of Gulfport, Mississippi filed a lawsuit against Popeye’s for not supplying him with a knife in his take-out chicken bag.  He says the lack of a knife (he did receive a spork) caused him to use his teeth to tear the chicken from the bone when he was consuming it back at his office.   According to the complaint, he choked on a piece of chicken.

Newton later dismissed the case, reportedly because of “extreme comments directed to me and my family.”

Newton’s unclaimed Avvo profile indicates that he has been practicing law for 35 years.

I suggest he needs more practice and, if he is going to file a personal injury case, perhaps he should understand personal injury law and the need for using common sense before filing a lawsuit. (The Avvo profile indicates that he practices in the probate, commercial real estate, and tax fields.  I have no idea if that is true or not.)  The chance of a judge allowing this case to be considered by a jury. much less a jury verdict in his favor,  was a little less than the odds of winning a game of Texas Hold ‘Em when your first two cards are an offsuit 2 and 7.

I wasn’t born in the South, but I have lived here (North Carolina and Tennessee) for over 38 years.  Chicken wasn’t regularly served in our home while I was growing up in Central Wisconsin, but chicken, especially fried chicken, assumed a regular place in my diet when I moved across the Mason-Dixon line.  I have seen people eat bone-in chicken, even fried chicken,  in a tablecloth-type restaurant using a knife and fork. But I have never seen a single person eat fried chicken out of a bag or box with a knife and fork.  For that matter, I have never seen people eating fried chicken with a knife or fork in a fast food restaurant.  Now, perhaps that means that I am “uncivilized” or otherwise don’t have proper manners and that all of the people I have observed suffer from a similar defect.  But, come on man, its fried chicken!

I hope Mr. Newton is okay and that the only long-term effect he suffers from this entire incident is the life-long embarrassment caused by filing this lawsuit.  His ridiculous act will haunt the rest of us – look for those who distrust juries and seek further restrictions on the right to access our civil court system to reference this goofy court filing for decades to come.


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