CONSUMER’S LOSE, WHEN ‘CHEESEBURGER’ WINS
House bill has nothing to do with obesity and everything to do with
putting consumers’ rights at risk
ST. PAUL, MN – Unable to resolve important budget bills to address the state’s $5.2 billion deficit, the Minnesota Legislature has resorted to passing bills that eliminate the responsibility of corporations when their products cause ill health effects to consumers.
On Friday, in the waning days the session, one of those bills passed was the so-called “Cheeseburger Bill.” The bill, branded the “Cheeseburger Bill” because it would provide immunity to food manufacturers when their products cause “adverse health conditions”. The legislation is promoted as a response to lawsuits – however no such case has ever been filed in Minnesota. This bill sets a dangerous precedent for Minnesota’s consumers.
Jim Carey, President of the Minnesota Association for Justice, reacted to the passage saying that “the ‘Cheeseburger Bill’ may sound humorous – but the language in the bill is far from funny. This bill is a dangerous proposal with broad immunities for any adverse health condition in response to fictional cases that have never been filed. Branding the bill as the ‘Cheeseburger Bill’ is a fraud in itself. In reality the bill puts Minnesota’s consumers at risk by allowing food manufacturers to be immune when their products cause ‘ill-health effects’ under any circumstances. We have opposed various versions of this bill for almost a decade and this version is the worst by far.”
Responding to the floor vote Carla Ferrucci, executive director of the Minnesota Association for Justice, said the ‘Cheeseburger Bill’ is just one bill in a package of anti-consumer bills that have been moving through the legislature. Adding that, “most have pithy titles and are based on flimsy facts – but most frighteningly, remove important constitutional protections for consumers, reward wrongdoers and demonize our system of civil justice.”
Ferrucci went on to say that “the ‘Cheeseburger Bill’ isn’t just harmful to consumers – it is harmful to our system of justice because it creates the false perception that there are hundreds – if not thousands – of these lawsuits being filed in Minnesota, which is simply not true. These cookie-cutter bills are written by special interest groups in Washington DC , chiefly the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and are an attempt to exploit myths generated by the insurance industry and big business. Consumers aren’t clogging the courts with lawsuits about eating one too many cheeseburgers – in fact lawsuit overall are down 40% over the past ten years.”
Concerned Minnesotans should wonder why legislators are spending the precious few hours left in the legislative session passing bills that harm the public and reward special interests rather than addressing the needs of Minnesota’s hard working families and small businesses.
Ferrucci said Minnesotans need to hear about these drastic legislative proposals that, if signed into law, would remove their constitutional rights and consumer protections. “Minnesotans need to let their legislators know that it is time for them to focus on the very real issues facing Minnesota’s families rather than the fictional problems created by special interests in Washington DC that simply protect their profits” she added.
According to the Minnesota Court Administration personal injury cases have gone down almost 40 percent in the last decade and Minnesota law already addresses lawsuits that are filed without merit and include sanctions for the filing attorney.
The Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ) is a professional association of attorneys who represent Minnesotans wrongfully harmed or injured in person, property or human rights. MAJ defends the rights guaranteed by the Constitutions and laws of the United States and Minnesota, foremost among them the right to a trial by jury and advocates for public policy to enhance consumer rights and protection.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.