Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is suing a House of Representatives cafeteria for $150,000 because it allegedly sold him a vegetarian wrap sandwich that contained an olive pit. Kucinich asserts that biting into the sandwich caused him “permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures.” The $150,000 figure includes sums for Kucinich’s pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment.
The news about this lawsuit gives the reader a lot to chew on. First, Kucinich must have a pretty expensive dentist and pretty extensive dental issues if the teeth-olive pit encounter could cause $150,000 worth of damage. The hungry Congressman must have really been looking forward to that hearty veggie wrap and chomped down into the sandwich with reckless abandon! Of course, for Members of Congress a fully functioning mouth is a crucial part of the job, so it’s not surprising they would use only the most expensive mouth technicians. Second, it says something about Rep. Kucinich’s power — or lack of same — that he couldn’t even get the House of Representatives own cafeteria to pay off his dental bills short of litigation. You would think that the cafeteria would want to keep famished Members of Congress and their staffs coming in for those grim vegetarian meals and would be willing to toss a few thousand bucks Kucinich’s way in order to avoid any problems.
And third, isn’t there something apt about a Member of Congress filing a $150,000 lawsuit for a food-related incident? We can only assume that the standard, scrupulously accurate congressional accounting and budgeting techniques were used to develop that damages figure.