Junk Food (1960); Senate Bean Soup (1943); Chicken a la King (1911)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 26 20:49:51 UTC 2002

At 1:34 PM -0500 11/26/02, Fred Shapiro wrote:
>On Tue, 26 Nov 2002, Baker, John wrote:
>>          Although there are plenty of frivolous lawsuits out there (and I
>>  would include the junk food case among them, at least based on the media
>>  reports I've seen), I don't think the hot coffee case is one of them.
>In fact the supposed outrageousness of the McDonald's case is an urban
>legend.  McDonald's, as I understand it, kept their coffee at excessive
>temperatures. much hotter than at other chains, so that it would not need
>to be reheated for a long time.  A woman was badly burned as a result.
>Although lawyers undoubtedly merit a variety of different kinds of
>criticism, the anti-plaintiff stories that are spread by the "tort reform"
>movement are motivated by powerful corporate interests, since large
>corporations are typically defendants in tort cases.  Often the plaintiffs
>are the only ones holding to account corporations who have committed the
>most heinous environmental and other transgressions.  If you're an
>environmentalist, you probably should be an enemy of tort reform.  Tort
>reform also fits into a large Republican agenda that encompasses, in the
>long run, trashing Medicare and Social Security as well as environmental,
>health and safety regulation, as well as letting Enron-like corporate
>abuses go unchecked.  Unfortunately the Democrats too seem to be going
>along with much of this.
Yes, indeed, especially since some (although much less) of *their*
campaign contributions come from the same sources.  Note also the
recent "Homeland Security Bill" that included a provision to exempt
Eli Lilly, a major Republican sponsor, from suits by families whose
children have been damaged by a Lilly-produced vaccine preservative
that has been linked (so far not conclusively) to autism.  As John
McCain and others have pointed out to no avail, this has absolutely
nothing to do with "security", except that of the Lilly shareholders
and corporate officers.  OK, sorry, off topic, but we are talking
about urban legends, and hence indirectly of etymythologies...


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