With the current media hype about obesity and a rising tide of trial lawyers who see dollar signs where the rest of us see dinner, the thoughtful Thanksgiving host should consider asking guests to sign a liability indemnification agreement that prevents them from suing over extra holiday pounds. Think of it as a sort of gastronomic prenup.
Like any liability waiver, this contract would avert lawsuits by listing any and all possible dangers, no matter how remote. For starters, it should warn that the risks of the Thanksgiving meal include, but are not limited to, satiation, indigestion, heart burn, laziness, holiday spirit, food coma, and that bloated feeling. The agreement should also caution that dangerous hazards may lurk in the turkey, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, drinks, desserts, appetizers, and fixings.
You may also want to inform guests that the Thanksgiving meal could contain any of the following: calories, carbohydrates, sodium (salt), fat, saturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, peanuts, sugar, alcohol, tryptophan, caffeine, and possibly even good cheer.
No liability indemnification agreement would be complete without clauses that prohibit hauling you into court on the basis of: 1) failure to provide nutritional information, 2) failure to warn of potential for overeating because food tastes too good and is provided at no cost, 3) failure to offer “healthier alternatives” or vegetarian “tofurkey,” 4) failure to warn that dark meat contains more fat than white meat, and 5) failure to warn that eating too much may lead to weight gain.
For guests who bring minors to the Thanksgiving table, the form should note that you as the host or hostess have no legal responsibility for monitoring said minors’ eating habits, nor for guarding against any attendant hazards. The guest must also agree that neither he/she, nor his/her agents or personal representatives will sue you or your associates for any injury they might suffer, in whole or in part, from consuming food on your premises.
Forms should be in carbon-copy triplicate for proper record-keeping come court time.
Hopefully that should cover you. By getting your guests to sign this contract, you should be able to prevent lawyers from suing the stuffing out of you this Thanksgiving.
However, given our increasingly litigious society, my lawyer advises me to say that nothing contained within this article should be construed as actual legal advice. In other words, you are hereby informed that I am not responsible if your guests can find a loophole in the contract. With the legal sharks circling, you’re on your own.