Former Army sergeant Clark Bartholomew got more than he expected when he ordered a Triple Stacker from Burger King at Hawaii’s Schofield Barracks in 2010. Instead of the usual ingredients, Bartholomew reportedly got a mouthful of needles when he bit into the sandwich.
When Bartholomew bit into the sandwich, one needle reportedly pierced his tongue and another became lodged in his small intestine, requiring hospitalization. Bartholomew has since retired from the military due to injuries he sustained during his two tours in Iraq and moved to Virginia.
Bartholomew filed a lawsuit against Burger King but failed to appear for settlement hearing in Honolulu because of a commitment he made to his new job. Bartholomew has now been ordered to pay Burger King’s legal fees, but U.S Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi has decided not to drop the case entirely.
“We don't feel there's any merit in [Bartholomew’s] claims," Grant Kidani, a Honolulu attorney representing Burger King, told the Associated Press, adding that the franchise is "totally operated by the government."
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Bartholomew’s lawyers are considering appealing the judge’s decision to force their client to pay Burger King’s legal fees. "This is the judge's ruling and he's a good judge. We disagree with him on this," said one of his lawyers, Paul Saccoccio. "My client was back there trying to work. He's an injured war veteran. Perhaps it was a bad decision, but he just couldn't get [to the settlement hearing in Honolulu].”
Judge Puglisi’s recommendations still need to be approved by a district court judge but ordered the defendants to let him know how much their legal fees were related to the settlement conference so he can recommend a fixed amount.
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