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Something good out of the judicial system

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  • Well, #1 is really the coining of the phrase "McLawsuits". A judge with a sense of humor. Excellent. :)

    #2 - "... they cannot blame McDonald's if they, nonetheless, choose to satiate their appetite with a surfeit of supersized McDonald's products."

    Humor and alliteration. Mencken would have been proud.

  • Good! (Score:3, Funny)

    by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2003 @01:02PM (#5136083) Homepage Journal
    Now they'll have ample money for my "Shit my Pants" versus Levis lawsuit! It isn't my fault I can't control my bowel functions!
    • Sorry, Sielwolf.

      My lawyers are informing me that you are infringing upon my patent for Levi's Pants shitting.

      Please cease and desist all further pursance of this course of action.

      Thank you.

      Sincerely, and with full trousers,
      • I think I need to buy a liscense from you, or at least an upgrade. Could you inform me of how much that costs?
        • Well, the liscensing costs are rather steep.

          I am willing to accept, one goat, two chickens and a parakeet, -or- 3 graham crackers and a box of Zap It laundry detergent.

          However, since I am feeling generous today, I will throw in for free the When Good Animals Go Bad, Vol XXVII upgrade.

          Speaking of upgrades, have you tried upgrading to the "Baggy" style Levis? I find I can go several days without needing to change pants due to their crap-friendly upgrade.

          Ok. This has gone too far :D Sorry FK
  • This is an encouraging sign that our judicial system is finally getting sick of the frivolous multi-million dollar lawsuits that ravage the economy and benefit no one but the lawyers.

    Remember the case where the woman won a million dollars from McDonalds because her coffee was too hot and she spilled it on herself? That, IMO was a low point in judicial history. I'm glad we are starting to see sensible decisions.
    • Actually, that suit is something of an urban legend. First of all, the plaintiff was 81 years old, not a yuppie on her way to work as I've repeatedly seen it portrayed. Secondly, this McDonald's in particular actually *did* serve excessively hot coffee and had received quite a few customer complaints and McDonald's general policy is to serve coffee hotter then most restaurants consider appropriate (and was known to have already settled over 700 lawsuits on the same issue by the time this one came up). Thirdly, the woman in question got such bad burns that she ended up needing skin grafts.
      There's actually quite a bit more like this. I'ld recommend going to this site [] or the many others like it before you draw any conclusions. Of course most of these sites are biased as well, but we're all big boys and girls here, we should know how to sort for ourselves.

      The overall thing to realize is that the American media is currently participating in a vast misinformation campaign on the scale of the anti-public transit stuff that went on in the nineteen-fifties.
      Most journalists these days come pretty close to just publishing anything well written and neatly formatted that comes in their door. I speak as somebody who has worked at and for any number of places you have heard of including The New York Times, Time Magazine, and plenty of others, as well as at the advertising agencies targeting them.
      Don't believe me? Go online and check out the actual facts behind what Al Gore *really* said and did and how that relates to the famed bullshit of his having claimed to have invented the internet.
      I can tell you that most of the media sources out there are just overworked and/or lazy, succumbing to bias, and going for dramatic headlines, but I can also tell from having seen some seriously insider stuff that, for example, everything in the Murdoch empire is subject to a political acid test and they have explict agendas including massive amounts of money changing hands and flat-out placement of stories as favors. Millions of dollars, licencing deals, the works.
      Here on /. we've seen all this hoopla about the perverting influence on the media of corporations on a few issues (Microsoft's long-running disinformation campaigns, RIAA sleaze, etc.) and yet I regularly see people here quoting stuff from Fox News and the like on every other subject as if it were absolute fact. It ain't. Nothing like.

      Bottom line: a multi-billion dollar battle is currently underway between tort lawyers, insurance companies, legislators, assorted negligent or just fearful industries, and grandstanding "citizen's groups".
      All of them are using a vast array of dirty tricks to try to get their way. Each side is spreading lies like there's no tomorrow. And (this is my favorite part) when economists have surveyed senior executives, they have found that the executives at places like auto manufacturers have seriously inaccurate perceptions of the legal risks of various decisions.

      If you wanna have clue on this issue, then you'ld better spend a few hours looking into it first. vague memeories of Jay Leno jokes, comments from the nightly news, and snippets of "A Current Affair" do not count.

  • Why is it that, when people can't control themselves, they have to find someone else to blame it on? If I'm overweight, I should sue McDonalds. Does that mean that if I have a beer gut, I should sue Molson? If I go crazy from listening to pop music, I should sue the RIAA?

    I'm glad the judge had the sense to dismiss the suit. However, I don't like that the case can be refiled. Seems like a waste of taxpayer dollars to me.

  • Smoking, fast food, drugs, space heaters, guns, cars, planes, etc.

    Consumers do not have to do/use any of these things yet they are offered as products/services. What is the line between personal responsibility and providing inherently risky products/services to consumers?

    One could argue that if they warn the consumer prior to purchase about the risks, then the consumer has an informed choice. However, some of the ill effects do not manifest themselves as health issues until after prolonged usage without even crossing into abuse or overuse.

    If eating McDonalds' food really does give children diabetes, heart disease, etc. over prolonged usage is McDonalds at least partially responsible?

    I know this is an unpopular opinion and I think the "hot coffee" and "my kid is fat" lawsuits are bullshit too but think about it. We know that if you eat a lot of fast food you're going to get fat and have weight-related health problems. But if McDonalds (and other fast food joints) didn't exist or sell unhealthy products, would this be an issue?

    • But if McDonalds (and other fast food joints) didn't exist or sell unhealthy products, would this be an issue?

      These kids were eating at McDonalds several times a week. They should sue their own parents for being so stupid. There are plenty of things that are fine if you eat them once a week but not great if you are cramming them every day. Ding-Dongs come to mind. Also, if you are 5'6" and 270 pounds your problems go beyond a simply matter of what you are eating. It becomes an issue of quantity. You know that these kids are not just ordering a single Happy Meal and nibbling at it.

      This case is an example of parents shirking their own responsibility and trying to blame a corporation for how their children are raised. If you let McDonalds raise your children then you get what you deserve.

    • Interesting point. When I worked @ McD's, the processes for creating hamburgers didn't seem all that unhealthy. Maybe the focus should be on the type of food, as opposed to the way it is prepared. If I made the exact same products @ home, I'm sure that I'd find some of the same symptoms/problems creeping into my life.

      Over all, though, I'd still place all of the responsibility on the parents. It is their responsibility to not take the restaurants word for it, & research it themselves. Caveat emptor!
    • Remember, these kids overate. It doesn't matter if you eat too many burgers or eat too much broccoli, you're gonna get overweight. I can see the coffee spill issue, although it draws a thin line.

      The law needs to set a line down between 'ignorance' and 'danger'. Do rifles get sold with the warning "do not load, point at head, and pull trigger"? No, because common sense will tell you that. Now, if it backfires and shrapnel gets stuck in your head, causing brain surgery, you have a legitimate complaint, and you must battle in court whether its the rifle manufacturers fault, or just a risk you knew you were taking.

      Frivolous stuff like the 'fat kids vs mcds' should be either tossed out, or paid for by the loser, cause I don't want my tax-paying dollars to go towards it.
      • The law needs to set a line down between 'ignorance' and 'danger'.

        They sort of have with regard to negligence. Negligence is, by definition "the failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances." This is what I like to call The Stupid People Clause," because it allows a judge to hold Stupid People at fault. This also applies when a judge deems the plaintiff(s) Stupid People, and throws the case out.

        Now if only we could avoid all the court costs incurred prior to judges invoking The Stupid People Clause, and if judges were less afraid to invoke said clause in the first place, we'd have it made. Unfortunately, there are hundreds upon hundreds of organizations made up of Stupid People and formed merely for the purpose of defending Stupid People and declaring that even if Stupid People look like Stupid People and quack like Stupid People, we can't go around calling them Stupid People (or even worse, some groups assert that there is nothing wrong with Stupid People and that Stupid People have every right to exercise their Stupid People rights).

        Ahh, for the anatomy of the tongue in cheek.

    • Spoonyfork's questions are very important, since they expose the grey on what y'all would consider a black and white issue.

      What if McD's was unhealthy because they soaked their burgers in ammonia? What if they topped off their apple pies with cocain? (they wouldn't be on the $1 menu, but I digress...)

      This ruling STILL leaves open the possibility of another lawsuit, if it can be shown that "soylent green is indeed made of people!" or if there is some harmful aspect to the way the food is prepared.
      (even if it didn't, there's no such thing as Double Jeopardy in civil suits)

      So its easy to complain about lawyers- specifically class action lawyers (becuase this is all they do... they looked for a potentially harmed class, represent them gratis (thats FREE) and only get paid through settlement), its easy to say "these suits are stupid",

      but this class action suit is a great equalizing force in the american judicial system. Not all class action suits are frivilous. Some even confer benefits on to consumers- for example: do you know why blockbuster video now allows you an extra half day to return a video? It sure as hell wasn't from the goodness of their hearts! That was a settlement condition based on a case of unclear return times and a capricious levelling of fines. They were "doing bad things to consumers." Yep, the lawyers got paid. I and have I LOT more time to return "Kissing Jessica Stein" to my local blockbuster (not that I needed it...)

      P.S.- view spoonyforks questions as rhetorical.
    • If eating McDonalds' food really does give children diabetes, heart disease, etc. over prolonged usage is McDonalds at least partially responsible?

      So long as McDonalds (and other fast food outlets) are not being dishonest in their nutrition claims, and so long as they do not hide the nutritional information, then their responsibility is very minimal. Food outlets do have a responsibility to be honest about their claims.

      Fast food outlets should not be able to claim, for example, only 6 grams of fat for one of their products without also stating in clearly legible text (not a 4 point disclaimer) that this is for a sub with no additional condiments or cheese . Showing some ex-fat-bastard and claiming he lost 500 pounds soleyl by eating that company's food without also clearly stating that he had aides is also wrong.

      I managed to lose 30 kg last year. (That's over 60 pounds for the metrically-challenged.) I ate McDonalds for breakfast about 2-3 times a week, had KFC about once a week and still ate pizza on Friday night. I still eat junk food, but I don't eat as much as I used to. I am also exercising more and eating healthier meals.

      McDonalds isn't the problem, education is the problem. Parents should teach their children how to eat properly and to get some exercise (it can be as simple as walking to the shop rather than driving). Suing McDonalds because you (generic you, not specific) overate and didn't get off your big, fat, flabby, arse is just a cop-out.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman