Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 2, 2014 at 7:06 PM | Page modified June 2, 2014 at 7:48 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Case of needle burger at Hawaii base nears trial

A former soldier's lawsuit alleging he bit into needles in a Burger King sandwich purchased at Hawaii's Schofield Barracks is headed to trial in August after a settlement could not be reached.


Associated Press

advertising

HONOLULU —

A former soldier's lawsuit alleging he bit into needles in a Burger King sandwich purchased at Hawaii's Schofield Barracks is headed to trial in August after a settlement could not be reached.

Clark Bartholomew and his family sued in federal court in Honolulu after he said he was injured in 2010 on the sprawling central Oahu base. The former Army sergeant's lawsuit says one needle pierced his tongue when he bit into his Triple Stacker sandwich, and another was lodged in his small intestine, requiring hospitalization.

The defendants include Miami-based Burger King Corp. and the U.S. Army and Air Force Exchange, which operates the franchise.

"We don't feel there's any merit in the claims," Grant Kidani, a Honolulu attorney representing Burger King, said Monday, adding that the franchise is "totally operated by the government."

A spokesman for the exchange referred questions to the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, who didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, government attorneys argued that Bartholomew can't sue because he suffered his injuries during the course of military service. U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright refused to throw out the case.

Seabright's order issued last month noted that Bartholomew was at home on base Dec. 1, 2010, when his wife brought home a value meal for his dinner. He was home because of back pain.

"Eating a Burger King Triple Whopper (equally available to the military or general public) while at home on a sick day does not implicate military command or discipline," Seabright's order concluded.

Because a settlement wasn't reached after a conference last week, trial was scheduled for August.

Bartholomew, 46, has since medically retired and lives in Chantilly, Virginia.

"I'm very disgusted," his wife, Tanya Bartholomew, said of the lack of a settlement. "I think we're more irritated than anything. We're not in Hawaii, so now we have to spend even more money to fly to Hawaii to have a trial when everyone agrees someone screwed up."

Blame, she said, is being passed around.

The argument that her husband's injuries were the result of military service is insulting, she said.

"Him going to war in Iraq has nothing to do with him going to Burger King," she said of her husband. He was a federal police officer assigned to the Pentagon on 9/11, and the terrorist attacks prompted him to enlist in the Army and serve two tours in Iraq, where he injured his back, she said.

"He went back into the military to serve his nation," said the family's attorney, Paul Saccoccio, of Haleiwa, Hawaii. "Why would he come out and be a vexatious litigant when he was prepared to die for his country?"

___

Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa .



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Bad email habits to break today


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►