Law planned to block US obesity suits

An American lawmaker has drawn up a bill that would bar people from suing restaurants for obesity related health problems.

    Fat Americans tend to blame the food chains for their girth

    The Illinois Commonsense Consumption Bill would prevent Americans, at least in the state of Illinois where fast food restaurant McDonald's is headquartered, from seeking damages from food manufacturers, sellers or distributors for their being overweight.

    The bill's sponsor, Illinois Democrat John Fritchey, said the legislation is designed to put a stop to the type of frivolous lawsuits brought againstchains such as McDonald's, Wendy's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King.

    Blame game

    In one such suit, a 56-year-old New Yorker claimed the fast food he ate made him fat and gave him two heart attacks.

    "I think all the food I ate from McDonald's and all the three other chains – with the calories, with the grease - was like a time bomb exploding in my arteries," the man claimed.

    A US federal judge threw out a separate suit against McDonald's in September saying the plaintiffs had failed to prove that deceptive advertising by the food chain had contributed to the obesity of children.

    Lawmaker's call

    "This is a call for personal responsibility," Fritchey said. He has been working on the bill with the Illinois Restaurant Association.

    Fritchey plans to introduce the bill in the Illinois state legislature in January.

    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are also considering a similar federal bill. The Commonsense Consumption bill of 2003 is currently the subject of hearings by a House of Representative subcommittee.



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