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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Comments

Hughsan

Other than being really stupid, you are going after the wrong people. You should be going after the producers of trans fats. Also go after the potato producers for selling a product that is potentially dangerous to eat over a long period of time. And go after the meat producers (farmers) for raising cattle, which produce beef, that creates dangerous toxins when cooked. One smart lawyer could wipe out the other lawsuits at one whack, and stop all the other future lawsuits

Brian

Like Andrew, you, too, are entitled to your opinion, and I am glad that you have expressed it, and explained why you think your practice is different from, and better serves consumers than, the Burger King case. It's a debate worth having. I agree, of course, that it is a bad idea to file baseless suits. That's the easy part. But the notion that it's easy to pick out which UDAP claims, for instance, are appropriate because they are consistent with what a legislature has condoned, and which are not appropriate, and thus just an extension of a personal ideology, is not, in my view, as simple as you suggest it is. After all, the concept of an "unfair and deceptive act or practice" is a rather elastic one. Or what about the concept of "harassment" under the FDCPA? That's another intentionally elastic concept. I don't think this is a matter of ideology on the one hand, and what a democratically elected legislature has condoned on the other. Only things were that simple. In any event, I'll wait until I learn more about the case to make my judgments about it.

Back to blog decorum, which was the only point of my comment: I don't claim to speak for Steve Gardner, who certainly will have no problem defending himself. But I do think it is impolite to say that Steve IS a disgrace to the profession - - pretty much characterizing the sum total of a lawyer's professional life based a view of a couple lawsuits. As I say, I think that debases the debate on the blog. If some folks go after the bloggers in that manner, I can't stop it. I just don't think it's a good idea.

Mahlon

Brian - I agree with Andrew. Frankly a lawyer who files a lawsuit on completely baseless grounds IS a disgrace to the profession. Within the last few weeks this same legal theory was drummed out of Court (remember KFC?). I am a consumer lawyer - I represent consumers. I do not use the legal system to promote a personal ideology. I help individuals who need legal help. Every time someone files a bogus lawsuit in the name of consumerism, it makes my job that much more difficult when I need to help a real person. I do not manufacture a dispute in an brazen effort to gain in court that which I could not get a legislature to give me. Rather, I use law, duly enacted through legislation, to help people who have suffered real harm in a real transaction. Hopefully, next year, when that little old lady walks through my door, in desperate need of my help, her access to the courts will not have been eroded by a legislature fed up with cases like this one.

Brian

Andrew: You are entitled to your opinion about the Burger King suit. (I haven't formed one yet myself.) In fact, it's good to hear from various points of view on this blog. But why the personal attack? ("You are a disgrace to the legal profession.") This blog, thankfully, has largely been free of that kind of stuff that has really debased the discussion on other blogs. I hope it stays that way.

Miles Gordon

Gardner fails to mention that the vexatious suit his group filed against KFC on the same grounds was a spectacular failure. This suit is just as undeserving and will undoubtedly also fail in the same spectacular manner, but not until another bunch of lawyers has made a another bucket-load of money, and precious court-time has been wasted on this rubbish. It is lawsuits like this that define all that is bad about the American legal system.

Ted

Andrew Engel actually understates the argument against this suit:

1) The facts underlying this consumer-fraud case for failure to disclose are based on the information in Burger King's brochure, which discloses the trans-fat content.

2) It's also fascinating that the post fails to mention that an identical suit against KFC was slapped down, and deservedly so.

3) The most critical omission in this post is the fact that the reason trans-fats are so prevalent in our diet today is because of CSPI's earlier activism demanding that fast-food chains replace saturated fats with partially hydrogenated oils. The fact that CSPI was so wrong in its nannyism then doesn't seem to give it pause now. Chutzpah doesn't even begin to describe this suit.

Andrew Engel

I hope you are sanctioned by the Court for filing a frivolous action. This is ridiculous. Is there fraud? No! Burger King is conducting its business lawfully. Protest against it; boycott it. Run ads and scream from the tops of mountains. But filing suit? You as much as admit you do it for publicity - publicity that you are unwilling to pay for yourself. You are a disgrace to the legal profession.

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