Washington , D.C. - Today Chief Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor (VA-7) voted in favor of the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act (H.R. 339), which would protect taxpayers and local restaurant owners from obesity-related lawsuits.
"For far too long, personal injury lawyers have been fueling those who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions," said Congressman Cantor. "Our vote today takes us one step closer to eliminating these types of frivolous lawsuits, reminding Americans that the way to resolve our country's ongoing obesity problem is through healthy eating and exercise, not million-dollar settlements.
"The kind of obesity and weight-gain related allegations we heard about today are all part of a slippery slope that would eventually bankrupt America 's food service industry, the number one private sector employer, depositing even more money into the trial lawyers' pockets. By putting our foot down today, our food industry and restaurant owners can now continue to expand, create more jobs and fuel our economy."
The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, which passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 276 to 139, seeks to prohibit obesity or weight gain-related claims against the food service industry. Below are some quick facts:
ü The food service industry - employing more than 12 million people - is America's largest private sector employer.
ü Trial lawyers have called the fast-food industry the next tobacco industry, estimating potential profits of $40 billion from obesity-related lawsuits.
ü Almost 90 percent of Americans oppose holding restaurant owners responsible for the diet-related health problems of regular fast-food consumers (Gallup).
ü Public schools are the next target for class action lawsuits, as trial lawyers look to put blame on food court vending machines for child obesity (Food litigation attorney John Banzhaf).