Harrison County

Attorney who choked on chicken withdraws lawsuit


“Extreme comments” directed at his family have prompted Gulfport attorney Paul Newton to drop a lawsuit he filed against Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen after he choked on a chicken breast because, he said, the fast-food restaurant failed to provide him a knife in the drive-thru.

“I continue to believe that the facts demonstrate an unsafe condition to the public that could easily be solved by the responsible parties at very little cost,” Newton said in a statement sent to the Sun Herald. “I am hopeful that my filing of the court proceeding results in such remedial actions. However, due to extreme comments directed to me and my family, I have determined not to pursue this matter further.”

Newton said in his lawsuit that he ordered fried chicken for lunch Tuesday at the Popeyes on Pass Road. The restaurant provided only a spork, a combination spoon and fork, to go with the meal. He said he tried to eat the chicken by hand, but a piece became lodged in his throat.

Later that day, he had to undergo emergency surgery at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport to have the piece removed.

In the Circuit Court lawsuit, Newton asked to be reimbursed for medical expenses and pain and suffering. He also wanted a judge to order Popeyes franchises to start providing plastic knives with drive-thru orders.

The lawsuit was reported Wednesday by the Sun Herald and widely shared on Facebook and also on Reddit, where some commenters were none too kind about the filing.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99