The Minnesota Legislature is chewing on the so-called “Cheeseburger Bill,” a piece of legislation that would prohibit people from suing food retailers for making them fat. Rep. Dean Urdall, R-Grove City, has once again sponsored the bill, claiming it is necessary to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
We tend to agree that people should take responsibility for their own actions, including the choices they make as to their diet. But to grant immunity from prosecution to a whole segment of the business community flies against the idea that people should be able to go to court to seek redress for grievances. It beats taking the law into one’s own hands.
Besides, who gives the Legislature the wisdom to decide if a whole class of lawsuits is frivolous.
We suspect the tobacco industry would have loved to have a law like this on the books in states across the nation. Why should they be held responsible for someone’s decision to smoke. For a long time, the tobacco industry defended itself against seemingly frivolous lawsuits until several states banded together and made the case that resulted in massive settlements.
If someone can make the case that they were preyed upon unfairly by fast food merchants who seem intent on cramming more and more calories into their ever-expanding burgers, why not let them?
There are other ways to discourage frivolous lawsuits. A good, solid tort reform act would protect food vendors and others as well.