February 25, 2004 in Politics

Illinois Commonsense Consumption Act

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Having dealt with weight issues since college, I’m sympathetic to most with health problems as a result of obesity. But taking a restaurant chain (say McDonald’s) or a manufacturer (say Nabisco) of a food product to court “for making you obese” is just ridiculous. Geez! All fast food restaurants now provide nutritional information for items on their menus. The same is done for all fatty and potentially “addictive” junk food found in the grocery store. Granted serving portions have gotten larger, but it’s up to the individual to exercise some self control. Furthermore, people (myself included) need to take responsibility for what we put in our mouth. If I fall for all the marketing ploys and overindulge on the food and then get fat, that’s my fault. That’s not the company’s fault. More importantly, suing is not the answer. With all this litigation, no wonder everything in this country is getting more expensive. Thankfully, the Illinois legislature passed a bill earlier today that will stop these ridiculous obesity law suits in state court. Other states have similar legislation under consideration. Here’s hoping the Governor signs the bill.

Illinois General Assembly
House Bill 3981
Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Illinois Commonsense Consumption Act. Provides that no person shall bring a qualified civil action in State court against any manufacturer, seller, or trade association of a qualified product. Defines “qualified civil action” to include a civil action brought by any person against a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product, or a trade association, for damages or injunctive relief based on a claim of injury resulting from a person’s weight gain, obesity, or any health condition that is related to weight gain or obesity. Makes exceptions to the limited liability.


  1. August 2, 2004 at 11:46 am

    dan da man

    see the thing is…..a wise man once made a comment about suing, and its the same general idea for obesity lawsuit…….. “people are starting to sue phillip morris for causing them to get lung cancer…..Thats like trying to sue Hustler magazine for giving me CARPEL TUNNEL”

  2. February 29, 2004 at 2:42 pm


    Shouldn’t anyone be able to sue themselves for being insanely overindulgent?

  3. February 27, 2004 at 9:29 am


    I disagree.
    Tobacco, used responsibly, does not do any harm. Tobacco combined with the multiple carcinogens in cigarettes often (but not always) causes cancer, which may or may not eventually lead to death. Not to mention that there’s never been a causal connection with minimal smoking and lung disease…so, you could say that you could smoke responsibly and never have a problem. (in fact, that was the argument that RJ Reynolds used back when this came up) The only reason you (and I) are currently so vastly opposed to smoking is that the government ran a huge marketing campaign in the interest of the public health….and the only reason that happened is because someone had the temerity to sue a cigarette manufacturer.
    Similarly, your typical fast food hamburger primarily contains beef, which when consumed responsibly, does no harm. But, that beef, cookied in fat and oil, with additional fats added for taste and flavor, as well as a ton of salt…consumed several times a week, consumed by young people, or consumed in mass quantity…can lead to heart disease, among other problems. Meanwhile, fast food chains sell “healthy” salads that have more calories than their hamburgers. White Castle’s primary advertising mechanism for the first ten years of its existence was that eating White Castles for every meal, every day, made you *healthier*.
    There’s been no pure causal studies right now, but there was even less proof of harm when the first cigarette lawsuits were launched.
    My point being that those “frivolous” lawsuits are often how the public ends up finding out that something really is harmful…and it’s what leads to legislation to regulate for the public good.
    Now, granted, I’m rarely in favor of legislation for the public good…but I’m surprised that you, being the staunch Dem that you’ve seemed to be, are backing a bill which would be beneficial only to corporations and would rob the consumer of their judicial rights in pursuing health concerns. ::shrug:: Just seemed odd to me…not to mention that this particular bill has ramifications that have nothing to do with frivolous lawsuits…

  4. February 26, 2004 at 9:25 pm


    Comparing smoking to obesity is like comparing apples to oranges. Smoking even for a short while, can kill you. Food on the other hand, eaten in moderation, does a body good! So once again, it comes back to individuals taking responsibility for what they put in their mouth. As for children, it is up to the parent to make sure that there kids eat a balanced diet. Blaming the food companies is trying to pass responsibility on and that is just wrong.

  5. February 26, 2004 at 3:08 pm


    I’m not sure I can really be behind that. Why is it limited to obesity? Seems a little odd to me…and somewhat prejudicial.
    The whole theory behind the lawsuit against the fast food chains was that if we can sue the cigarette manufacturers and get warning labels and limits on advertising, and if heart disease and obesity are now a greater risk to the American public than lung disease, why isn’t there a warning label on hamburgers? Why are fast food makers allowed to market fatty foods like burgers and fries directly to children?
    It actually makes some litigious sense, but the media ripped it to shreds, of course.

  6. February 26, 2004 at 2:32 pm


    Wow, a first: common-sense legislation. What a novel concept…then again, having to legislate common sense is a sad commentary on our society in general.

  7. February 26, 2004 at 12:49 pm


    above and beyond everything – we are a blameworthy society – always looking to find someone to bear our burdens that and ignorance is bliss yanno?

  8. February 25, 2004 at 11:07 pm


    isn’t that just simply ridiculous? this country is just overly litigious.

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