No McJoke: Judges Reopen Obesity Suit

Discussion
Jan 26, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Just when you thought it was safe to assume that the courts had decided how fat a person gets is a matter of genetics and/or personal responsibility, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York says it’s not sure and the subject requires further investigation.


A panel of three judges found that an earlier court ruling dismissing a suit against McDonald’s because of insufficient evidence should be overturned to give the plaintiffs the means to full discovery of the facts.


The initial suit claimed McDonald’s had, in effect, turned many of its patrons into super-sized versions of themselves by misleading them with advertising messages suggesting the chain’s products, such as Chicken McNuggets, were suitable for those following a healthy diet.


The judge in the initial case, U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet, called McNuggets a “McFrankenstein creation” before dismissing the suit.


McDonald’s issued a statement in response to the Appeals Court ruling. “Common sense tells you this particular case makes no sense. The key issue remains personal responsibility and making informed choices.”


Moderator’s Comment: Did the Appeals Court make the right decision in allowing the plaintiffs in this case to acquire and present more evidence before
a final ruling is made on whether the suit should proceed?


Although we have no love for trial lawyers, we must admit being suspicious of tort reforming politicians who are all too eager to limit the right of juries
to decide cases. That said, this case provides an excellent example of why those most likely to be hurt by tort reform are so willing to let legislators limit their ability to
seek justice through the courts.

George Anderson – Moderator

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