Lawsuit Abuse Week: Personal Responsibility, Anyone….?

By October 19, 2005Briefly Legal

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s Lawsuit Abuse Week in the House of Representatives this week. They’re focusing on two bills, both headed for a vote on Wednesday. Both of them advance the cause of personal responsibility. What a concept.

The first (H.R. 554) is what we like to call the “Put Down That Fork!” Act. It’ll rein in litigation against food manufacturers, distributors, sellers, etc., for claims of weight gain and obesity. Absent this legislation, lawyers will continue to sue businesses when somebody gets too fat. (Gilbert Grape’s mother, call your lawyer!) Good Lord. We need legislation for this? What about common sense?

As for the second bill, S. 397, which has already passed the Senate 65-31 — with strong bi-partisan support — people are suing gun manufacturers when guns are used in the commission of a crime. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of gun control, this is an issue of common sense. Should a scalpel manufacturer be sued when somebody dies from medical malpractice? Should an auto manufacturer be sued when someone is killed by a drunk driver? Of course not. We take our lumps when a product — any product — is defective. But here, people want to sue for a product that is used illegally. Where does it end? This is about new causes of action — new product lines — for lawyers. They have quite enough, thank you.

If you care about the lawsuit culture in this country, please click here to drop a note to your Member of Congress and urge them to vote this week to elevate personal responsibility and put some common sense back in the system. Here’s a link to an excellent editorial supporting passage of the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. It’s about time.