Overweight consumers are seeking damages from purveyors of fast food for obesity-related health problems. Plaintiffs claim that products that are high in fat, sugar, salt and cholesterol are defective. Other potential liability theories include product category liability, failure to warn, failure to disclose nutritional information, deceptive advertising, and negligent marketing. However, in order to prevail at trial, plaintiffs must overcome problems with causation, duty and proximate cause, shifting responsibility, federal preemption, comparative fault, and assumption of risk. If such litigation is successful, it may induce fast-food companies to produce healthier products. Nevertheless, this Article concludes that the problem of obesity, like the public health problems associated with cigarettes, alcohol, handguns and lead-based paints, should not be resolved by litigation, but rather should be addressed by legislation and private initiatives.
Richard C. Ausness, Tell Me What You Eat, and I Will Tell Whom to Sue: Big Trouble Ahead for “Big Food"?, 39 Ga. L. Rev. 839 (2005).