Check out the “Restaurants” section in just about any telephone directory. You’ll find listings for old-fashioned American food, barbecue, Chinese, Cajun-Creole, Italian, French, Sushi and so on.
But you probably won’t find a restaurant listed under “Animal Carcass Removal,” at least not anymore. As the ABA Journal reports, a restaurant outfit in Montana has just won a settlement against a phone book company after claiming that being listed that way caused — surprise! — a decline in business.
Hunter Lacey, the owner of Bar 3 Bar-B-Q restaurants in Bozeman and Belegrade, Mont., contended that after he refused to buy an ad a salesman for Dex Media Inc. deliberately put his restaurants in a phone book section not generally associated with dining out. The designation appeared in 2009 and was reprinted in other outlets the next two years. Finally, perhaps inevitably, it was joked about by Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show in January 2011.
It was all a mistake, Dex Media said. Lacey wasn’t placated, and his suit appeared to be headed for trial in U.S. District Court in Montana. But after Magistrate Judge Keith Strong denied a motion to dismiss the case, citing problems with Dex Media’s disclosure of company documents, settlement talks gained momentum.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The salesman involved has moved on to other things.