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White Castle Served with Lawsuit from Booth-Challenged Customer

A plus-size New Yorker sues White Castle because he can't squeeze into their booths


All over the news this week was the incident where a 290-pound, six-foot man sued White Castle because he couldn’t fit into their booths. Suffern, New York’s Martin Kessman had been dining at the 90-year-old White Castle chain since 1959 but stopped going there two years ago when he discovered he couldn’t wedge himself into their new booth-seating.

The Nanuet, New York White Castle had just installed booth-seating in their location not giving the diners the option of table seating. After ordering a meal, Kessman decided to dine-in but had a hard time placing himself into the tight booth. Over the course of the next few months, Kessman wrote White Castle three letters but he felt they responded with “condescending” remarks and sent him a list of other locations that could accommodate his plus-size. They also mentioned they were in the process of remodeling their 420 locations but it’d take time for it to go into effect.

After the April 2009 incident, Kessman refused to step inside the Nanuet location and made his wife go there to pick up burgers for him. Eight months later, he begrudgingly returned to the Nanuet location with some friends and found to his dismay the booths still hadn’t been renovated to accommodate his size.  

Fed up, in August of this year Kessman filed a lawsuit against White Castle citing the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act that protects people like Kessman. The act states a disability is a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” It goes on to say, “no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment  of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.” In his legal statement, Kessman's lawyers explained how the incident was “extremely embarrassing for the Plaintiff to have to experience it in front of a restaurant full of customers” and this was the first time he'd encountered those kinds of restrictions before.

With a strong case against White Castle, it remains to be seen what the outcome will be, but hopefully the restaurant will hear Kessman’s plea and rectify the situation promptly. 

by: Garin Pirnia