PAM_4380_april_18_2011 - Litigation 4/18/2011 Obesity...

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Litigation 4/18/2011 Obesity lawsuits Homework #6: due today Prelim # 2 : Friday Covers information, taxation, litigation
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Obesity Lawsuits Pelman v. McDonald’s Corp . Class action suit: “brought on behalf of children who consumed McDonald’s products and allegedly became obese or overweight and developed diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol intake, or other health effects as a result.” In 2003, Judge Robert Sweet dismissed the case “without prejudice,” meaning that the plaintiffs were free to amend and refile their claim. (Ref: Mello et al., Health Affairs 2003)
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Pelman, cont . Negligence claim: failure to warn “Four key legal hurdles confront a product liability claim of this kind. The plaintiff must prove that (1) the danger was not apparent to the average consumer; (2) the product is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use; (3) the plaintiff’s obesity was caused by the food in question; (4) the harm would not have occurred had an adequate warning been given.”
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Known danger “If the danger associated with a product is “open and obvious,” the law will not intervene to prevent a consumer from the consequences of his or her own poor decisions. This philosophy of free consumer choice pervades the judge’s ruling on the initial Pelman complaint: “If consumers know (or reasonably should know) the potential ill health effects of eating at McDonald’s, they cannot blame Mc-Donald’s if they, nonetheless, choose to satiate their appetite with a surfeit of supersized McDonald’s products.” Possible exceptions Children Synthetic contents of fast food
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Other elements Unsafe for intended use Did McDonald’s push daily consumption? Causation: McDonald’s→ obesity → ill health “…plaintiffs will have to grapple with the contributory roles of their own unhealthful behavior, such as extensive television viewing, failure to participate in physical activity at recommended levels, and
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2011 for the course PAM 4380 taught by Professor Kenkel during the Spring '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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PAM_4380_april_18_2011 - Litigation 4/18/2011 Obesity...

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