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 RAND.org on December 31, 2002
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.