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Lawsuits, crazy Americans out of control

By By Robert St. John / food columnist
Oct. 16, 2002
Robert St. John is the executive chef/owner of New South Restaurant Group, www.nsrg.com. His weekly food column appears in newspapers in Mississippi and Louisiana. St. John can be reached at robert@nsrg.com or (601) 264-0672.
Calling all trial lawyers!
Tort reform legislation is coming, and not a moment too soon. In New York, two overweight teen-age girls are suing McDonald's because the fast-food company made them fat. This story comes on the heels of a similar story about an obese man who sued Burger King and Wendy's because he is overweight and has health problems.
You would think that fast-food managers are hog-tying customers and cramming cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets down their throats. The argument here is: "We are too stupid to feed ourselves, so we think you should give us a few million dollars."
John Banzhaf, lawyer for the teens says, "The parents didn't know the food was fattening."
Here's a newsflash, counselor. Big Mac = fattening; celery = non-fattening. Enormous mega-sized order of french fries = fattening; carrot sticks = non-fattening. Super-duper giant chocolate shake = fattening; Diet Coke = non-fattening. Got it? Good.
No one is taking responsibility for their actions anymore. First, the lawyers targeted the tobacco companies (who knew cigarettes could kill you?). Then they went after doctors and nursing homes. Now they're targeting restaurants.
The restaurant industry is at the core of America's small-business community. We create more entrepreneurs than any other industry. And now, we are about to be litigated straight out of business.
That's it, I quit
I'm throwing in the towel and moving over to the dark side. I'm giving up the good fight and joining all of the pseudo-victimized plaintiffs who are out there trying to make a quick buck. I'll find an open-minded judge and a few sympathetic jurors. Heck, you can't throw a rock nowadays without hitting a trial lawyer.
In today's legal climate, I could have a field day. There are tons of people who have caused me irreparable harm over the course of my life. I'll sue them all and retire to Hawaii!
I will sue the Bee Gees for making me do ridiculous disco dances in the late 1970s.
I will sue McRae's department store for making me wear a powder-blue leisure suit while doing all of those disco dances.
I will sue the producers of "Gilligan's Island" for giving me an unnatural fear of taking a three-hour tour.
I will sue the inventor of the puka-shell necklace because I can't airbrush it out of my ninth grade class photo.
I will sue The Little River Band because their music turned me into a spineless wimp my sophomore year of high school.
I will sue all of the beer companies because their products made me have bad grades my first five years of college (OK, it was seven years).
I will sue MTV pretty boys Duran Duran for making me wear that ridiculous moussed-up mullet haircut in 1984.
And, furthermore …
I will sue movie director Francis Ford Coppola for making me watch the "Godfather", "Godfather Part II" and "Apocalypse Now" hundreds of times, wasting what otherwise would have been countless hours of productive living and community service.
I will sue Garth Brooks because I actually did one of those silly line dances back in 1993.
I will sue Madonna for starring in the movie "Evita" (real damages $6.50, cost of movie ticket; pain and suffering $4.5 million for sitting through all 134 minutes of it).
I will sue the Starland Vocal Band because their song "Afternoon Delight" is still ingrained into my brain 26 years after its unfortunate ascension into the Top 40 (has the statute of limitations run out on that one?).
I will sue Milky Way for giving me 17 cavities over the last 40 years.
I will sue the members of 'NSYNC, because, well, they're 'NSYNC.
And finally, I will sue Summer's Eve and Tampax for the cruel and unusual punishment of making me watch their TV commercials.
The Legislature's special session on tort reform has cost Mississippi's taxpayers more than $650,000. In the end, doctors and insurance companies got most of the reform they requested, but what about small businesses?
Now that the Legislature has thrown the doctors a bone, maybe they'll give us restaurateurs some relief. Until then, you can reach me at: Robert St. John, #32 Easy Money Ranch, Maui, Hawaii 96820.
Is there a trial lawyer in the house?
Jack Daniels Sauce
for Bread Pudding
1 cup Heavy cream
1 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbl Butter
2 tsp Cornstarch
2 tsp Water
2 Tbl Jack Daniels