According to Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal, law professor John Banzhaf has a plus-sized problem apart from his own waist measurement. The plump attorney, who oversaw the development of lawsuits that cost the tobacco industry hundreds of millions of dollars, is now in the midst of formulating a full-frontal attack on the fast food industry. Fast food makes people fat, he understands and it’s his belief that McDonalds, not the consumer, should shoulder the blame for the effects of that BigMac.
Banzhaf has been suing the industry for years, and luckily most judges have been sensible enough to discount the nutty professor’s antics. The fast food industry is an easy target for legal action: its profits are relatively high, its products are unhealthy, and its customer base is broad.
Without tort reform, silly suits like Banzhaf’s will be considered somewhat viable. It’s time to clean up the courts, but political considerations still dominate. According to Riley, “What distinguishes this latest class-action money grab, however, is that, at bottom, it’s a bald assault on the public’s intelligence. The case against the food industry ultimately rests on the assumption that overweight Americans are too weak-willed or too stupid to resist food marketing.”