What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Fast Food Industry : H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Maintain Consumers' Access to the Courts for Alleged Weight-Related Health Problems Caused by the Consumption of Fast Food Until the Underlying Legislation Became Law. (2004 house Roll Call 53)
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H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Maintain Consumers' Access to the Courts for Alleged Weight-Related Health Problems Caused by the Consumption of Fast Food Until the Underlying Legislation Became Law.
house Roll Call 53     Mar 10, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Republican-drafted legislation to prohibit lawsuits in both state and federal courts against corporations such as McDonald's and Burger King that adversely affect the health of consumers included a provision which would apply legal protections retroactively. Passage of the legislation, then, would nullify any outstanding lawsuits alleging that the fast food industry had negatively impacted the health of consumers. During debate on the measure, Congressman Watt (D-NC) offered an amendment which would have stripped the retroactive provision from the underlying legislation. Even though no weight-related lawsuits were pending against the fast food industry-courts had already dismissed them all-Progressives supported Watt's proposal as a way to maintain consumers' access to the courts for alleged health problems resulting from the consumption of fast food up until the date that the underlying legislation became law. Conservatives opposed Watt's proposal. In their view, the retroactive provision was needed to prevent what they described as the inevitable flood of lawsuits against fast food chains which would be filed just before the underlying legislation took effect. The goal of the bill, Conservatives pointed out, was to prevent frivolous lawsuits against fast food chains; Watt's amendment, they argued, would therefore undermine the purpose of the legislation. On a vote of 164-249, Watt's amendment was defeated and the retroactive provision remained in the underlying bill.

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