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Fat is as fat does
Jewish World Review ^ | 7/30/02 | Cal Thomas

Posted on 07/30/2002 1:38:28 PM PDT by rhema

Humorist Art Buchwald once observed that it was becoming more difficult to write satire because truth was funnier.

That's how I feel about news that a 56-year-old New York man is suing four leading fast food chains for contributing to his obesity, several heart attacks and other health problems.

Caesar Barber claims through his New York lawyer, Samuel Hirsch, that fast food creates a de facto addiction, or "craving," among those who eat it. Hirsch says fast food eateries should list ingredients on their menus. "There is a direct deception when someone omits telling people food digested is detrimental to their health," he commented.

The restaurant chains which are the objects of Barber's suit -- McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Kentucky Fried Chicken -- have provided nutritional information, including calorie and fat content for their meals, since 1990 when Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act. In addition to calorie-packed fare, all four chains also serve salads and other non-fattening food -- all available to Barber.

Clearly, trial lawyers are out of control. What's next, ice cream? Will some driver sue the manufacturer of his car because the auto is capable of breaking the speed limit and because of this he got a ticket? He could claim addiction to speed.

Isn't anyone responsible for anything anymore? Apparently not. We're all victims now and anything bad that happens to us ("bad," being a relative term with shifting meanings and escalating damage awards) is someone else's fault. If I stuff my face with Big Macs or Wendy's triple-deckers five days a week and get fat or have a heart attack, why should the fast food chains be held liable? They didn't force-feed me. That Barber's case wasn't immediately tossed out of court proves we have too many fathead lawyers and judges who treat the law as a game.

Many people will recall the 1994 case of a woman who sued McDonald's for serving her coffee she said was dangerously hot. While holding a cup of coffee between her thighs after buying it at a drive-through window, the coffee spilled, causing third-degree burns. Why wasn't the woman responsible enough to use a cup holder?

About that lawsuit, then-Rep. Ron Packard (R-Calif.) said, "Our courts have become a lucrative feeding ground for unscrupulous lawyers and greedy plaintiffs who abuse the system. Litigation is spinning out of control when a woman can file a suit over spilt coffee and walk away millions richer."

Researching outrageous lawsuits, I hit a mother lode of examples. An Ohio prison inmate once sued the state because he was denied soap-on-a-rope. Another inmate from Ohio was served a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, then sued the state on religious grounds, saying the stuffing had turkey bits in it and eating meat violated his religion.

An Ohio man sued NBC's "The Tonight Show" in 1999 after claiming he'd been struck in the face by one of the souvenir T-shirts the audience warm-up man "shoots" into the audience using a cannon-like device. I've been in the "Tonight Show" audience and the shirts have a velocity that literally could not hurt a fly. The plaintiff wanted $25,000, claiming pain and suffering, disability, lost wages, emotional distress, humiliation and embarrassment.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported in 1997 about a local man who was asked by the city of Brooklyn Park to cut down a diseased tree on his property. The man put a ladder on top of his van and began cutting down the tree. When he fell and injured his head, the man sued the city, which spent $4,000 defending itself before the case was thrown out of court.

More of these cases should be thrown out. "According to the President's Council on Competitiveness, it is estimated that Americans spend in excess of $300 billion a year in litigation," the business journal noted. "The United States has 30 times more lawsuits per person than Japan." When the legal system is abused, it adds to the cost of business and goods for all of us.

Better judges would help. Maybe that's why President Bush has been stymied trying to get his nominees for the bench past a stonewalling Senate Judiciary Committee made up almost entirely of lawyers. Maybe it's why Democrats, whose party receives most of the political contributions made by trial lawyers, are opposing the president so strenuously on his judicial selections.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fastfood; lawsuits; triallawyers

1 posted on 07/30/2002 1:38:28 PM PDT by rhema
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To: rhema
2 posted on 07/30/2002 1:42:13 PM PDT by tracer
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To: rhema
Excellent editorial. I sent it on to two liberal friends who think fast food chains should be sued. Where do they get these ideas? One fellow actually invited me to lunch at a restaurant in town that serves unlimited french fries...we pigged out for an hour-long fat fest and HE wants to sue?

Cholesterol is as cholesterol does.

3 posted on 07/30/2002 1:52:42 PM PDT by PoisedWoman
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To: rhema
Tort refrom. Tort reform. Tort reform.
4 posted on 07/30/2002 1:55:52 PM PDT by Slainte
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To: rhema
5 posted on 07/30/2002 2:05:37 PM PDT by F.J. Mitchell
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To: rhema
You know, I object to these lawsuits strongly. Ever since the creation of the TSA and the hiring of these thousands of employees for airport security, I've noticed a marked increase in the quality of the food and service at our local fast food chains.
6 posted on 07/30/2002 2:20:45 PM PDT by Nuke'm Glowing
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To: rhema
What we need is Legal Care Reform.

It should be modeled after the Hillary Care plans.

Limit the number of lawyers graduated by the various law schools.

Set limits on the number of legal specialists.

Lawyers are paid a set 'fair' salary.

Everyone gets free legal care, but has to go through a Fed agency to get it.

heh heh
7 posted on 07/30/2002 2:21:34 PM PDT by TC Rider
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To: TC Rider
Heather Gifford v. Joseph and Brenda Gifford. Suing for $2.8 million in Punitive Damages, Lost Income, and Mental Pain and Anguish.

Insisting that her parents, Joseph and Brenda, willfully and recklessly passed their "inferior genetics" on to her, their daughter, Ms. Gifford, 16, is seeking compensation for the humiliation of not being asked to the Junior Prom and the pain of never having dated even a single member of any of the men's varsity sports teams at her high school. She is also seeking the lost income she would have earned as a child and teen model if she had been more beautiful.
8 posted on 07/30/2002 2:35:48 PM PDT by Grit
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To: rhema
Clearly, trial lawyers are out of control.

That trial lawyers are out of control is the beginning and ending of the story. Fatso Caesar is merely their proxy.

There must be a way to fight back against trial lawyers, who are defiling our laws and treating the courtroom as a lottery machine.

9 posted on 07/30/2002 2:53:38 PM PDT by angkor
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To: rhema
Republicans should introduce a "Common Sense Bill of Rights".... I.E. Tort Reform.
10 posted on 07/30/2002 2:57:45 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: operation clinton cleanup
They have. Dan Quayle raised the subject a decade ago and I'm not surprised nothing much has changed since then and if anything the state of affairs has gotten worse.
11 posted on 07/30/2002 3:00:06 PM PDT by goldstategop
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To: goldstategop
I just meant they should repackage it with a demo tested name, replay all these ludicris lawsuits and decry BIG LAW.
12 posted on 07/30/2002 3:13:46 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: PoisedWoman
I was listening to Rush last Friday when this topic was been discussed. Oh Pleeeze! As someone who has always fought the war on fat, let me say this. You are what you eat. AND! You are HOW MUCH YOU EAT!

What I would like to know is this. All his so called "health issues" I'd like to know if this guy smokes? Does he work out or is he a couch potato? Does he have a history of heart attack in his family? Is there a history of diabetes in his family? There are so many factors that contribute to obesity.

Besides, who was handcuffing him and forcing him to go to the fast food places? If I remember correctly, they also make salads at these places. Did he ever order a salad? This sort of stuff makes me mad!

13 posted on 07/30/2002 5:13:13 PM PDT by Teacup
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To: rhema
At a friend's suggestion, I went on the weight watcher's diet. I have never eaten so well, even eating 1/2 to 2/3 of my daily points. I gained 5 pounds the first week! I had to go off and figure out my own system. Do I sue?
14 posted on 07/30/2002 6:21:55 PM PDT by JesseShurun
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To: angkor
Its easy, if you lose a frigolous lawsuit you pay the defendants court costs. Imagine how much money these four fast food giants lawyers make per hour? I seriously doubt this guy and his pimp would even think about a law suit.
15 posted on 07/30/2002 7:00:05 PM PDT by GallopingGhost
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