The McLawsuit

The Fast-Food Industry and Legal Accountability for Obesity : Fast-Food Litigation, No Matter What Its Ultimate Outcome in the Courts, Could Change Public Attitudes and Industry Regulation

Published In: Health Affairs, v. 22, no. 6, Nov./Dec. 2003, p. 207-216

Posted on on January 01, 2003

by Michelle M. Mello, Eric B. Rimm, David M. Studdert

Recent litigation brought by a group of overweight children against the McDonald's Corporation that seeks compensation for obesity-related health problems has provoked an intense public response. Many have derided this lawsuit as representing the worst excesses of the tort liability system, while others have drawn parallels to tobacco litigation. Fast-food litigation raises the question of where accountability for the economic and public health consequences of obesity properly rests. In this paper the authors consider the reasonableness of the claims against fast-food companies and discuss several social effects that the litigation may have irrespective of its outcome in court.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.