High Court Decides Steak Case Overcooked

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 25, 1997 | Go to article overview

High Court Decides Steak Case Overcooked


Byline: Bill Granger

Supreme Court handed down important rulings Monday.

It also decided the case of the well-done steak.

The important rulings upset the president's wife and encouraged Catholic schools and also said sexual predators could continue to be locked up by the state even after they finish their prison sentences.

Those weightier matters overshadowed the court's decision to take a pass on the lawsuit of one disgruntled diner.

You must remember the story of David Schlessinger of Chicago. In his last days writing a column, Mike Royko made Schlessinger a public figure from coast to coast through his stories of the overcooked steak.

Schlessinger - whose Chicago phone was unlisted Tuesday - was the man who ordered steak with his pals in Anthony's restaurant on Highway 50, a few miles west of Lake Geneva, Wis. This happened in 1994. With that simple order, Schlessinger set a steak on fire and set the wheels of justice turning.

When the steak was served to him at the table in Anthony's, Schlessinger rejected it.

He said the steak was served overcooked.

He complained loudly. Very loudly.

The steak house proprietor called the Geneva Township cops and they dispatched a car.

Officer George Salimes, identified in the suit, entered the joint and told Schlessinger and his loud friends to pay for their uneaten meal and leave.

He paid and left but he did not let the matter rest. Like every American with a cellular telephone to his name, he decided to sue.

Most of us - cellular and non-cellular alike - might act in a loud manner on a given night. But the next morning brings a calming headache and an urge to get on with our lives. We do not sue. We just mope along to the next crisis. Schlessinger was different. Schlessinger got on with his suit.

He sued the restaurant, the owner, the cop and various township officials.

The case went to the Illinois courts, where other lawyers became involved, and clerks and judges and recorders. All over the principle of the cooking of a steak.

Royko wrote two columns about this case, ridiculing Schlessinger and the business of the law, columns that were syndicated coast to coast. …

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