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NY Man Sues White Castle Over Small Seats

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on September 13, 2011 6:54 AM

Offended by the inability to fit into stationary booths at a White Castle located in Nanuet, New York, 290-pound Martin Kessman has sued the fast food establishment, alleging that its small seats violate his civil rights.

To make matters worse, the company responded to his complaints with coupons for free hamburgers.

That's right--not only are White Castle's small booths part of a nefarious plan to discriminate against its overweight customer base, the burger chain is forcing complaining customers to pay for cheese.

First complaining about the booths 2 1/2 years ago, Martin Kessman asserts that White Castle promised to expand its seating, even providing him with specs, reports NewsCore.

Making no move to renovate--or add tables and chairs--he decided to file this suit, alleging that White Castle is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Is obesity even a disability?

A disability is defined as an impairment that substantially limits one of life's major activities.

Arguably, to fit this definition, an obese person must be limited by his size. This includes an inability to move or breathe freely, or the presence of a weight-related disease or ailment.

A place of public accommodation--a business open to the public--must take reasonable steps to accommodate a customer's disability, such as making a space more accessible.

While a pregnant woman, or a morbidly obese patron utilizing a cane or wheelchair, would clearly warrant a table and chair (or larger booth), Martin Kessman's situation is a little murkier. The facts indicate that his weight does not substantially limit him, as he told the New York Post that he's comfortable on airplanes and at other establishments.

So even though obesity can be a disability, Martin Kessman is not likely disabled.

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