business news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that at least some legal experts believe that obesity lawsuits remain a very real threat to fast food chains, despite the fact that US District Court Judge Robert Sweet last week threw out such a suit against McDonald’s.

These legal experts suggest that because the judge simultaneously suggested that the plaintiffs could refile their case and how they might strengthen their argument, there remains an enormous legal opening through which potential plaintiffs could jump.

In a related story, U.S. Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla) introduced the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act on Monday, which would only allow lawsuits to be filed in cases where restaurants did not comply with regulatory requirements.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly plans to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.

The key to making new suits work, according to the experts, will be the ability to focus on how McDonald’s and other fast food chains process their foods. If a plaintiff could establish that fast food chains cook their foods using methods and ingredients unknown or unfamiliar to consumers and potentially harmful to their health, the judge seemed to suggest that there is at least the potential for a winning lawsuit.
KC's View:
We simply think that there is too much money out there for the plaintiffs’ attorneys to resist going after it.

But we still believe that the issue of personal responsibility is being ignored by the legal proceedings. The Reuters piece refers to one of the teenagers who was part of the suit that got dismissed, saying that he is morbidly obese because he eats at McDonald’s every day.

He still is eating there every day, even though it is so clearly unhealthful that he’s suing the company?

What the hell is wrong with this kid? His parents? His lawyers? Has the pursuit of cold hard cash totally obscured any sense of responsibility for how this kid is destroying his health and himself?