If anyone still doubts that the money-hungry trial lawyers suing fast-food restaurants are indifferent to the destruction they cause, this should convince them. Publicity-loving legal shark John Banzhaf has warned the Seattle School Board that he plans to sue them over soft-drink vending machines in schools. He even said school board members might be sued individually.
Forget the money that the schools would lose from their contracts with soda manufacturers. How about the funds they would have to waste defending themselves against this ridiculous litigation? Or the chilling effect lawsuit threats might have on future school-board candidates? Or the simple fact that Banzhaf has judged himself qualified to circumvent the decisions of a democratically elected board 3000 miles from where he lives?
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes Jim Hunt, a fourth-grade teacher and the parent of two children attending Seattle schools:
“It all comes down to individual choices. There are a lot of parents who buy these beverages for their kids,” said Hunt, admitting that his children occasionally get soda as a treat. “If you’re going to go after the schools, you might as well go after the parents, too.”
Actually, Banzhaf came perilously close to suggesting that as well. Testifying before Congress last month, he said:
If they [restaurants] are a significant contributor [to obesity], they should be held liable for their fair share. If the parents, if the children, if the adults, whatever, are responsible for another, they should be held lia — [pause]
Banzhaf may not be crazy enough to pursue legal action against moms and dads for their children’s weight problems. But you never know. We told you two weeks ago that Banzhaf might go after school boards. Now that he’s followed through, his next move may be to make good on his threatened lawsuits against pork and dairy producers for telling Americans that their products are part of a healthy diet.