Industry News | March 11, 2004

U.S. House Bans Quick-Serve Lawsuits

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On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would prohibit lawsuits brought against quick-serve restaurants by consumers who claim the restaurants made them fat and generally unhealthy. The bill passed by a considerable margin of 276-139.

The bill was sponsored by Florida Republican Ric Keller, who told CNN that "Trial lawyers have targeted the fast-food industry as the next Big Tobacco by bringing these insane lawsuits. We've got to get back to those old-fashioned principles of personal responsibility, of common sense, and get away from this new culture where everybody plays the victim and blames other people for their problems."

There was significant Democrat opposition to the bill, in part because they say there's no reason to treat this industry differently than any other. However, as reported by the New York Times, Dems also point out that, given recent news that obesity is catching up to tobacco as the number-one killer of Americans, the new bill shows "misplaced" Republican priorities.

The bill must still go through the Senate.