Thursday, March 11th, 2004
Bill H.R. 339, short titled as the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, street named, the “Cheeseburger Bill.” (Open the link and type in the bill no. at the search field):
The major text goes:
PREVENTION OF FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS–The manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a food or non-alcoholic beverage product intended for human consumption shall not be subject to civil liability, in Federal or State court, whether stated in terms of negligence, strict liability, absolute liability, breach of warranty, or State statutory cause of action, relating to consumption of food or non-alcoholic beverage products unless the plaintiff proves that, at the time of sale, the product was not in compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
The serious response: Frivolous here means: cases without merit. The bill, in my reading, doesn’t prevent cases from going to court, but it does limit how one defines “liability.”
Another question though: is this an example of the law evolving? Or is it the law “reacting” or “overreacting”?
One of the concepts that the American Constitution keeps delivering is the notion of interpretability. The fact that we still fight over ammendments to the document is a good thing.
Here’s my real response to the above bill (sometimes I wish I was in Congress so that I could write up funny-sounding bills and write overtly regulated law): “PREVENTION OF FRIVOLOUS BILLS AND DUMB TITLES–no bill shall be written that presumes to dictate or determine definitions of and for any rational human being as regards personal responsibility in association with the word food . . .”
Free societies, if free they are, come with all kinds of risks. Can we legistate out all of them in life?