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Sooo, do you want fries with that assault hamburger?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Waitone, May 8, 2003.

  1. Waitone

    Waitone Well-Known Member

    I always maintained the attack on gun manufacturers is a prototype for an assault on any number of deep pocket industries. This article does nothing to disuade me. Bush has 3 points on his agenda to get re-elected: 1>Iraq--completed, 2>tax cut--working, 3>either immigration reform or litigation reform. To me number 3 is a coin flip.


    Wednesday May 7, 09:38 PM

    Lawyers plan new fast food assault
    By Deborah Cohen

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fast food purveyors McDonald's and Burger King are about to be hit -- again -- with a slew of claims that their burgers and fries cause obesity, and some critics say they even feed an addiction.

    Litigators want to charge companies in the business of selling burgers with contributing to the rising obesity rate in the United States.

    The National Restaurant Association, which represents McDonald's and some 870,000 other U.S. restaurants, calls the claims "frivolous," and "twisted and tortuous."

    In February, a federal court threw out a lawsuit making similar claims.

    But attorney John Banzhaf, whose 1970s crusades against the tobacco industry helped get cigarette commercials off the air, is pushing ahead. He plans to deliver a letter stating his claims to the restaurant group and to debate them on Thursday with its president at Washington's National Press Club.

    "It would be a precursor to a legal action or suit," said Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University.

    Lawyer Richard Daynard, founder of the Tobacco Products Liability Project, is part of a group hosting a June conference in Boston with Tufts School of Medicine to discuss legal approaches to counter obesity.

    The attorneys draw parallels to arguments that helped states win more than $200 billion in a 1998 settlement against cigarette manufacturers.

    "Adults going in and pigging out on hamburgers is not going to go anywhere," said Washington-based attorney John Coale, one of the chief architects of the tobacco master settlement who has also taken on gun makers on behalf of several cities.

    "When the public sees the extent of targeting kids for all these fast foods, then (litigation) is going to get some traction," he said.

    Banzhaf and others claim that like cigarette makers, fast-food chains have withheld information about properties he said make their food addictive.

    His letter cites research, recently summarised in New Scientist magazine, suggesting that at least some fast foods, especially those high in fat and sugar, can cause chemical changes in the brain the same way as nicotine and heroin.

    "(T)he public is much less aware of the addictive-like effects of many fast foods than they are of the widely publicised addictive nature of nicotine in cigarettes," Banzhaf wrote in the letter, obtained by Reuters.

    McDonald's said in a statement it makes nutritional information available to consumers.


    The Oak Brook, Illinois, company said leading experts and U.S. regulators "have clearly stated that weight issues are all about the totality of an individual's daily choices about exercise, sedentary lifestyle, diet and everything else involved in personal decision making."

    Burger King deferred comment to the restaurant group.

    "Dietitians will tell you that all foods can fit into a diet," Steven Anderson, president of the group, said. "Anything that makes a connection with tobacco, which does have addictive properties, to food, is a twisted and tortuous maze."

    Some legal experts who have studied tobacco law say they think similarities between anti-cigarette legislation and anti-obesity claims are a stretch and smell of legal opportunism at a time when McDonald's and other fast-food companies are struggling financially.

    "The facts are that high fat, high calorie food is not good for you. It would be preposterous to suggest that's any revelation," said Harlan Loeb, a Northwestern University law professor who has studied tobacco law. "Plaintiffs lawyers know full well they (fast-food companies) can ill afford to be dragged through protracted, high-profile lawsuits."

    But those crafting anti-obesity claims said the risks to the public are not so obvious, and they are pushing for laws requiring fast-food chains to disclose calories and fat on foods like Big Macs, preferably through labelling. Banzhaf wants warning notices, not unlike those on cigarettes.

    And while the public may have difficulty swallowing claims that people can blame obesity on a specific company or food, the issue is gaining ground. The first major obesity case, filed on behalf of two teenage girls against McDonald's, has been resubmitted to a Manhattan federal court.

    Judge Robert Sweet dismissed the original suit but suggested the methods McDonald's uses to process its food could make it more dangerous than customers have reason to expect.
  2. Battler

    Battler Well-Known Member

    Actually, I'd imagine cigarettes are more their model.

    The gun industry isn't worth squat. They practically took on the gun industry on contingency, as there's simply nothing to mooch. The gun industry is 1 billion a year total, whereas Philip Morris (fraction of cigs) is 22 billion a year PROFIT.

    Their case against McDonalds is rock solid. With the idea that you can sue for "bad food", (they'll go after meat one day you watch), McDonalds sure as hell HAS been marketing to children. Joe Camel my a**, the cigarette industry didn't have Ronald McDonald and kids happy meals/toys.

    And the fast food industry has PLENTY of food to steal.

    Is it ridiculous? Yeah; but so is suing for smoking, which is also voluntary. Certainly, also, the states have a case - they can use even HIGHER statistics of people on state medical care with heart disease, and they sure coiuld use the money from more bonds based on raping another industry.

    So, McDonalds is going to endure this as well - eventually it'll stick.
  3. srschick

    srschick Well-Known Member

    Sooo... can I still grill a burger and fry up some fries at home?

    What's the difference, other than who makes it?
    Hell, half the stuff I make at home is just as bad as what I get at fast food places.
    But I still exercise ;)
  4. Battler

    Battler Well-Known Member

    That's only because you don't yet have a sin tax on oil, meat and salt.
  5. trooper

    trooper Well-Known Member

    Not for long. Fast food is a clear and present danger for public health and, therefore, public security.

    I think only the government should have access to burgers and fries. I mean, we can't really trust the average Joe Sixpack with such hazardous substances, now, can we?

    Look, you're telling us that you only want to keep them for yourself, but how would we know that you don't intend to feed them to your unsuspecting visitors?

    I expect a law that limits the capacity of frozen burger packages very soon.

  6. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    Oh without a doubt.

    When the first successes were seen against the asbestos and tobacco industries going on 20 years ago the flood gates were opened in many attorney's minds.

    Not the flood gates of justics, the flood gates of profit.

    Granted, some of these cases ARE justified, but others are nothing but greed feeding off of stupidity.
  7. Rawlings

    Rawlings Well-Known Member

    I did some research on these cases earlier in the year, and I've come to the conclusion that it's all about trial lawyers looking to make a fast buck. Tobacco is dried up, gun makers don't have deep enough pockets, so they've moved on to target Big Fat.

    Forget for a moment that the first time they pulled this "McDonald's makes you fat" schpiel, it was with a 57-year-old man who ate fast food 5 times a week and never exercised. That case was dropped when they figured they'd never win with the current <s>plaintiff</s> victim.

    So they grabbed some fat kids and claimed Mcdonald's chained them in the basement and force-fed them big macs for years and years.

    Where's personal accountability in this country gone? If your kids are fat, stop taking them to McDonald's! If the parents don't nip their kids' bad habits in the bud, it's they who should be sued.
  8. PATH

    PATH Well-Known Member

    Immediate registration of assault burgers! Think of the children!
    You just can't make this stuff up!:rolleyes:
  9. trooper

    trooper Well-Known Member

    How about a ban on offensive lawyers? We could limit THEIR capacity...
  10. Soap

    Soap Well-Known Member

    We all knew what sort of precedents the tobacco lawsuits would set.

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