BBQ Could Be Bad For Your (Legal) Health

Cecil C. Kuhne III, author of "The Little Book of BBQ Law," tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Linda Wertheimer how to barbeque without getting sued.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Let us all praise barbecue. This is the season for making plans and shopping lists, depending upon your passion for grilling or smoking and for sauce and sides. But have you considered the possibility that barbecuing could expose you to lawsuits? We have a man who combines a passion for barbecue with a life of litigation. He's actually studied the law as it affects his favorite food. Cecil Kuhne is a litigator. He's the author of "The Little Book of BBQ Law," published by the American Bar Association. And he joins us now from Dallas. Welcome to our program, Cecil Kuhne.

CECIL C. KUHNE III: Thank you. It's good to be here.

WERTHEIMER: Now, you lead off with a stern warning. The very first chapter is: Beware the BBQ Pit.

III: Yes. That story is about a man in Louisiana who was trying to help the Little League raise money. And he didn't get the latch on the barbeque lid secure and it came down and smashed his hand while he was barbequing chickens.

WERTHEIMER: I would think it would smash it and burn it at the same time.

III: Well, it wasn't pretty. That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

WERTHEIMER: Now, the message from the court was crystal clear, you said.

III: Yes. Next time he should wear a baseball mitt.

WERTHEIMER: If you're helping out the Little League, use one of theirs. Well, now, let's talk about the great secret sauce controversy. There is at least one case in this book, as I recall, that deals with secret sauce.

III: Well, the plaintiff in that case certainly thought there was. But the defendant, who had allegedly stolen the sauce, never could quite get it right. Even though he had the ingredients, he just didn't have it quite right.

WERTHEIMER: So, what is your advice for barbeque enthusiasts who want to go through life enjoying their pulled pork without ever having to go to court?

III: Well, you know, like all pleasures, there's a risk. So, I think people should be careful but I don't think they should refrain from barbeque eating.

WERTHEIMER: You think maybe they should order out?

III: That might be safer, yes.

WERTHEIMER: Cecil Kuhne is the author of "The Little Book of BBQ Law." We reached him in Dallas. Mr. Kuhne, thank you very much.

III: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIRE")

OHIO PLAYERS: (Singing) Fire, fire. There's a whole lot of fire. Fire. The way you walk and talk...

WERTHEIMER: This is NPR News.

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