Sweet Justice


Today a federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought by fat New York teenagers who blame McDonald's for their portliness. If that sounds familiar, it's because U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet rejected a similar lawsuit by the same plaintiffs in January, ruling that "legal consequences should not attach to the consumption of hamburgers and other fast-food fare unless consumers are unaware of the dangers of eating such food." If the plaintiffs could show that there were hidden hazards lurking in McDonald's meals, Sweet suggested, they might have a case.

Instead of taking Sweet's advice, the plaintiffs' lawyer, Samuel Hirsch, based his amended complaint on allegedly deceptive McDonald's ads. But according to Sweet, he failed to explain how his clients had been harmed by the ads.

George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, the obesity lawsuit enthusiast who bragged of advising Hirsch, now says "anti-fat lawyers aren't discouraged" because the dismissal was "expected." It "will not deter the filing of additional lawsuits," he insists. I believe him.