Soldier Settles with Government Over Needles Found in Burger

HONOLULU — A retired soldier's lawsuit over swallowing needles in a fast-food burger is settling for $50,000.

Retired Army sergeant Clark Bartholomew filed the lawsuit in 2011 saying he was injured by needles in a Burger King sandwich purchased on a Hawaii base. The lawsuit said one needle pierced his tongue and another lodged in his small intestine, requiring hospitalization.

The settlement was reached in February with U.S. Army and Air Force Exchange, which operates the Schofield Barracks franchise. The lawsuit also included Burger King Corp., but after numerous settlement attempts, Bartholomew and his attorneys agreed to release the company from the lawsuit and pursue a trial against the exchange.

The Associated Press on Monday obtained a recording of the Feb. 18 court hearing where terms of the settlement were put on the record. Other terms of the settlement include waiving sanctions against Bartholomew and his $11,000 bill from Tripler Army Medical Center, according to the recording of the four-minute hearing.

A judge last year ordered that Bartholomew pay nearly $8,500 in sanctions for not attending one of the settlement conferences.

Bartholomew and his family would have had to travel from Loudoun County, Virginia, to attend a nonjury trial in Honolulu. "They wore him down. That's what happens to plaintiffs," one of his attorneys, Paul Saccoccio, said of the decision to accept the settlement. "They get tired sometimes."

The food service company that provided the meat settled for about $6,000 and Burger King previously paid more than $10,000 in sanctions, said Bartholomew's other attorney, Stephen Shaw.

Bartholomew's wife, Tanya Bartholomew, said they're disappointed, "but I'm glad it's over and they're going to pay the hospital bills. When it started, I wasn't out for money anyway." 

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