Lawmakers Shield States From Frivolous Food Suits

There's nothing new about lawsuit-happy activists and trial lawyers trying to sue the pants off of restaurants that have the audacity to serve customers food that they ordered. Late last year the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class-action lawsuit against a fast-food chain, alleging that its toys violate California law by making certain foods irresistably appealing to kids.

Santa Clara County and San Francisco touched off the Happy Meal Toy Debacle of 2010 with their own bans on the supposedly mind-controlling toys. But now the debate has come full-circle, with common-sense legislators fighting back before these crooked food cops can cause any trouble in their neck of the woods.

Florida and Arizona lawmakers have already begun to ban toy bans like California's. With chain restaurants now required to post calorie-counts on menus, their rhetorical point is even more powerful—and harder than ever to ignore.

“It’s all about self responsibility,” stressed Alabama state Senator Gerald Allen, whose bill would prohibit frivolous lawsuit claims for obesity caused by citizens’ own food choices. Allen said his bill, the Commonsense Consumption Act, would protect food merchants and restaurants “if someone comes and sues blaming them for health issues, weight gain and obesity.”

So far 23 states have enacted similar so-called "Cheeseburger Bills" designed to prevent frivolous obesity litigation. Alabama and 7 other states have signaled their interest in new laws promoting personal responsibility over passing the buck to (and collecting megabucks from) to restaurants for the consequences of their own bad habits.

Last time we checked, nobody’s ever lost weight using a class-action lawsuit diet anywhere but in their wallets.

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