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October 21, 2005

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Jeff

It is inevitable.

Just wait for the day McDonalds faces a jury comprised completely of lard-ass losers. This group will embrace the "I didn't know eating 10,000 calories a day would make me obese" argument. And the minute McDonalds loses its first case, plaintiffs lawyers will circle and strip the carcass clean.

Dave!

I, for one, am really glad to see Congress spending so much time and money on such Senseble legislation. Oh, yeah.

Eh Nonymous

I, for one, salute our new corporatarian overlords.

I don't really like this kind of legislation. Why's it necessary? Because the courts have run amok and are applying the law to new facts in a way that makes businesses unhappy? That's what, unconstitutional now?

If we're going to have giveaways and corporate welfare, can't we be aboveboard about it all? Like, can't we just tattoo on each of our legs something like -

"Warning: You are entitled to recover damages in contract, tort, or other theories if and only if the defendant is not a large, well-connected industry. The 14th amendment is a floor, not a ceiling."

Mike

Eh Non, as you know, our courts are common law courts. The legislature, from time to time, needs to enact positive law to change the course of the common law. If existing common law doctrines could apply to obesity-related lawsuits, then the law needs changed legislatively. That's all Congress did here: it cut off a rotting branch of the law.

Evan, according to the news article, 120 congresspersons voted against it. If this legislation was unnecessary, why the opposition? It should sail through. Incidentally, rarely do congresspersons vote against legislation simply because they deem it unnecessary. So if it's true, as you assert, that the law is a waste of Congress' time, then you bear the burden of demonstring why 120 congresspersons voted against it. There might be a good explanation, but since I'm not arguing that it's a waste of time, I don't have to prove why 120 persons thought Congress shouldn't preempt obesity lawsuit. ;^>

Anyhow, even though there might not currently be any obesity-related suits pending, there are people who want to bring them; and there have been such lawsuits. Congress perhpas wants to end a potential problem. That seems prudent to me. Indeed, it's better to preempt potential actions before plaintiffs prevail, and thus the trial bar sees these suits as profitable ventures. (And thus, they'd opposes such legislation.)

Like you, I hate it when Congress wastes its time by enacting silly laws. But if Congress can quickly preempt potentially inane (if legally cognizable) lawsuits, it should do so.

mythago

That's all Congress did here: it cut off a rotting branch of the law.

Class-action lawsuits against restaurants have put a stranglehold on our legal system. Not.

Why don't they just go ahead and pass a law saying that only corporations with more than 50 employees may sue other corporations for any reason and be done with it, instead of this piecemeal crap?

Mike

"Class-action lawsuits against restaurants have put a stranglehold on our legal system. Not [yet]."

And that's exacly the point. But this snarky comment has me curious: "Why don't they just go ahead and pass a law saying that only corporations with more than 50 employees may sue other corporations for any reason and be done with it, instead of this piecemeal crap?"

If immunity for purveyors of fatty foods isn't a big deal/is a waste of Congress' time, then why get so upset about it? Indeed, if people shouldn't be suing cheeseburger makers in any event (and I assume everyone here concedes this), then why care when Congress prevents cases that never should have been brought, from being brought?

mythago

If immunity for purveyors of fatty foods isn't a big deal/is a waste of Congress' time

Wrong "if", Mike. The problem is not cheeseburgers; the problem is that Congress is increasingly bowing to pressure to exempt certain companies or industries from lawsuits. We are deciding at the legislative level, without anything like scientific review or examination of the facts, that certain claims are meritless and shouldn't ever be heard by a trier of fact. And it's being done in response to industry lobbying, not in response to a 'crisis'. It's not rectifying procedural loopholes.

Jennifer

Missouri has a similar statute already.
It is called the "Commonsense Consumption Act," isn't that fun?

I'd rather see Congress doing something like this than wasting its time on, oh, BASEBALL for instance.

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