It wasn't a bad meal that kept Kathleen Hewko on the toilet at a sports bar for 20 minutes. According to a federal lawsuit, it was a bad toilet seat.

Hewko, of Delran, Burlington County, is suing the Bethlehem, Pa., establishment after the toilet seat, designed for the handicapped, "cracked in half" and sent her "violently" into the ceramic bowl.

"You don't expect those kind of things when you go to the john," said her Philadelphia attorney, Gregory Sciolla.

Sciolla said Hewko had to be rescued from her Nov. 19, 2006, predicament, but he declined to elaborate.

According to a complaint filed last month in U.S District Court, in Allentown, Hewko said she was dining with her husband and son at the Starters Pub Sports Bar & Grille on that November afternoon when she went to the ladies room - and stayed just a bit too long.

Hewko's plunge wasn't just embarrassing, the lawsuit contends: It was painful. She claims she injured her lower back and thigh, and re-injured a hip. She is seeking $150,000 in damages from both Starters and Kohler, the toilet-seat manufacturer.

The complaint contends that the same toilet seat had broken at Starters a week earlier and that management knew there was a problem with it.

It contends that the seat was "defective" and should not have been broken by a woman who weighs between 130 and 140 pounds.

Hewko did not return a phone call for comment yesterday. Sciolla said she was too embarrassed to discuss the incident. A manager at Starters declined to comment.

Hewko's husband, John, also is seeking about $75,000 from the defendants for being "deprived of the society, consortium, companionship, services, and assistance of his wife," the lawsuit charges.