Press Release

US Appeals Court Reinstates Frivolous Obesity Lawsuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District has overturned a judge’s ruling, which dismissed a notorious 2002 lawsuit blaming McDonald’s for the weight of a handful of its customers. The pared-down case will now return to the trial court judge.

Trial lawyers, led by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, are planning a wave of lawsuits trying to turn food companies and restaurants into their next cash cow. Banzhaf plans “to sue them and sue them and sue them.” Somewhere, he argues, “there is going to be a judge and a jury that will buy this, and once we get the first verdict … it will open the floodgates.”

Eighty-nine percent of Americans believe that fast-food restaurants shouldn’t have to pay for their customers’ lack of self-control, according to a July 2003 Gallup poll. A more recent survey reported that 74 percent of Americans rate these lawsuits at the strongest possible level of disapproval. And a recent Harris poll found that 86 percent of adults hold parents liable for their children’s weight.

“It’s a shame that the courts will now have to spend more time and money teaching a few money-hungry lawyers what the rest of us have known since kindergarten,” said Center for Consumer Freedom Executive Director Richard Berman. “Individuals are responsible for their own food choices.”

The Center for Consumer Freedom has produced award-winning advertisements that mock trial lawyers who see dollar signs where the rest of us see dinner. To view these ads, click here. To learn more about the facts behind the so-called “obesity epidemic,” read “An Epidemic of Obesity Myths.”

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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