LOOKING AT THE OBESITY MCLAWSUIT: Product Liability—where to draw the line?
THE DILEMMA AND ISSUE
TORT OF NEGLIGENCE
TORT OF PRODUCT LIABILITY
ELEMENTS OF THE CASE
In August 2002, a suit was filed against McDonalds by the parents of two girls Jazlyn Bradley and Ashley Pelman, claiming that McDonalds and two of its restaurants in Bronx failed to clearly inform them about the ingredients and effects of its foods. They argued that because of this, McDonalds is liable for the girls’ bad health conditions—obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol (Wald, 2003, para. 13)
THE DILEMMA AND ISSUE
This case raised a dilemma for the courts. Some would argue that laws are there to protect the people who are unable to protect themselves when the society should enforce regulations for the safety of individuals (Feinman, 2006). Therefore, courts should initiate laws that prevent any danger to the health of individuals, and the courts also should not restrict lawsuits against the alleged harmful acts carried out by these fast food corporations. However on the other hand some would say that if the court rules against a fast food corporation in this case, it would cause infinite copycat-cases and consumer’s sense of their own responsibility will shrink dramatically (Mattis, 2003, para. 9).
Blyth v. Birmingham Waterworks Co., 11 Exch. 781, 784 (1856)
Cheeseman, Henry. (2006). Introduction to Law and its Dynamic Nature. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Feinman. Jay M. (2006). Law 101. New York: Oxford University Press.
Legal Database. (not dated) Failure to Warn. Retreived May 26, 2009, from http://www.legal-database.com/failure-to-warn.htm
Mattis, Jacob. (2003, April). Pelman v. McDonald’s and the Fast Food Craze: Sending a Court to do a Man’s Job. Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://www.law.uh.edu.healthlaw/perspectives/Obesity/040322Pelman.html
McLean, Tom. (Not dated). Medical and Public Health Law Site. Food Law / Obesity Cases. Retrieved June 7, 2009, from http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/food/Pelman_v_McDonalds_SDNY_brief.htm
Mello, Michelle, et al. (2003) The McLawsuit: The Fast-Food Industry And Legal Accountability For Obesity. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/22/6/207
Price v. Hampson, 530 N.Y.S.2d 392, 394 (4th Dep`t 1988)
The Federalist Society (2008, June) Pelman v. McDonald’s Corp. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/pubid.1063/pub_detail.asp
Wald, Jonathan. (2002, February). McDonalds obesity suit tossed. Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://money.cnn.com/2003/01/22/news/companies/mcdonalds/