Should Have Ordered the Green Eggs and Ham

A dispute over the quality of a breakfast sausage at a Denny’s restaurant adds to the burgeoning inventory of rhyming judicial opinions. The ridiculous disagreement that gave rise to the case is more amusing than the prose.Dissatisfied with the quality of some breakfast sausage, the appellant and his companion sent the sausage back to the kitchen. When the bill arrived, appellant demanded that it be reduced by the ala carte price for the sausage ($3.20), but the Denny’s assistant manager, obviously destined for full manager status, agreed to deduct only $1.20.

Appellant balked, left four bucks and departed, and thus arose the Great Two-Dollar Theft Case. Denny’s had the appellant arrested for theft. After the charge was dismissed, appellant filed a civil action for malicious prosecution, which also was dismissed.

On appeal, Judge Cercone of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, in obvious frustration over having to expend scarce judicial resources over two bucks, was moved to wax poetic:

Sausage and eggs!

Sausage and eggs!

$2.02 he refused to pay

So now in court it’s for us to say.

Sausage and eggs!

It wasn’t the price

The parties contend

It’s the principle, they pretend.

Sausage and eggs! $2.02 involved.

A sum so easily resolved

But no give or take here

They insist on a legal atmosphere.

Oh, in Uncle Sam’s land

Any person in court may protest

But, dear Lord, the Judge says

From this test, please give me rest.

He concluded his opinion with the statement: “Preserve us from more of this!” We concur. Maybe judges should be required to attend poetry writing classes before being sworn in.

Amicone v. Shoaf, 620 A.2d 1222, 1223 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1993). Thanks to Melanie Ware.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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