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St. Cloud, Minnesota

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The Every Year Hamburger Bill (update)

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The St Cloud Times had a story Sunday concerning a bill that is annually introduced by a central Minnesota legislator that has become known as the "Hamburger Bill." (interesting that the story was picked up by a blog called Fairwarning) While it is being sold as a ban on frivolous lawsuits, it’s really a get out of jail free card for negligent producers of deadly products.

Interesting photo that was in the Minnesota House Update:

That’s the Representative drinking a McDonalds drink during the hear? Interesting……..

- I wonder if other lobbyists drink while they testify?

- Does he really understand the joke?

- Is that a campaign contribution?

The bill is cloaked as a way to stop frivolous lawsuits. Supporters claim that it is meant to stop people suing because they got fat from eating McDonald’s burgers. Such claims have been brought in other states, without any known success.

Suing a burger company for getting fat sounds pretty frivolous, and I don’t know any lawyers who would ever attempt such a case. Most lawyers wouldn’t take them and very few fact finders (judges or juries) would have much sympathy.

But, the bill goes way beyond simply saying the people in New York can’t sue here in Minnesota for getting fat. It provides a protective shield for more likely scenarios, where corporations should be held responsible:

- Look at the peanut butter contamination case of a couple of years back. Deadly peanut butter that was created in salmonella petri dishes masquerading as factories. Do we really want to give Peter Pan a get out of jail free card?

- The tragic case of the young woman from Cold Spring that was robbed of a healthy life by bad hamburger. Should companies be responsible for poisoning people?

- The egg cases from last year that were sickly products coming from poorly regulated farms. Is it okay to sell dangerous salmonella-infected food>

The truth is that there are products out there that hurt people. Not just people, but consumers that actually paid for the product. Why in the world does this Minnesota legislator want to exempt those with "corporate responsibility" from the damage that they cause?

I am amused by a self-styled supporter of the Constitution and "friend of the tea party movement" ignoring the Seventh Amendment and actually calling for more government regulation. But corporations have bought and paid for this kind of support, so conservative idealistic rhetoric is ignored.

The state has much bigger issues to deal with than nonexistent Minnesota lawsuits.