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  xWednesday, January 22, 2003

mclawsuit dismissed


I'm a little surprise that this is getting the play it's getting: the infamous lawsuit against McDonald's blaming the fast-food giant for the obesity a steady diet of its fat-laden fare inevitably causes has been laughed out of court dismissed.

Of course it's been dismissed. Proponents of denying citizens redress of grievances tort reform enjoy the headline-grabbing attention that big and sometimes frivolous lawsuits get. But those same suits are very often dismissed once they actually reach a judge, and unprecedented damage awards--which, let's not forget, are the judgment of a jury--are often either reduced on appeal or negotiated down in settlement--and these developments frequently don't get a lot of news play. It's simple, really; I learned it in college journalism: Lawsuits are public records, so it's elementary for reporters to look thru them in search of a story. And just about any yutz can file a lawsuit; the truly frivolous ones never see trial, because the defense inevitably moves for a summary dismissal like this. In short, these events don't indicate the system is broken--it worked exactly the way it's supposed to.

On a similar subject, P.L.A has an eloquent post on the ridiculous inadequacy of Bush's proposed caps on malpractice suits in light of how some would spend US$250,000. Remember, folks, under those rules the suffering that even shocking malrpactice like this causes would be worth a lousy quarter-mil.





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