Siegfried Gursche, MH
My 15-year-old granddaughter Katrina is a bookworm. She loves John Grishamand must have read most of his books, her favourites being The Testament andThe Brethren.
My 15-year-old granddaughter Katrina is a bookworm. She loves John Grisham and must have read most of his books, her favourites being The Testament and The Brethren. The other day, curled on the couch, she was deep into The Summons. When I asked her how it was, she put on that smiling face. "Exciting," she said, and hesitatingly added, "and a bit disgusting!"
"What's so disgusting?" I probed. She referred to all that big money huge amounts the lawyers were making in their class action suits. First, against the asbestos industry for making people sick. Then came the tobacco suit for $300 billion, the biggest scam in financial history, as it mainly made the lawyers rich. However, nothing measured up to the class action suit against the Swiss pharmaceutical product Ryax, which was approved by the FDA and touted as a miracle drug for lowering cholesterol. It worked great with no side-effects.
Then bam! After a bout of five years with Ryax the kidneys gave up, permanent damage. These are the most lucrative cases lawyers are looking for. They sued for whatever they could dream of, then settled 1,200 cases for $200 million.
"And what was the fee for the lawyers?" I asked.
"Unbelievable," she said. "Fifty per cent from the top. It made them filthy rich. But I know this is all fiction and only happens in this story that Grisham made up."
"I am not too sure," I said, "whether real life is that much different. McDonald's just settled a $10 million lawsuit and apologized for wrongly describing its French fries as vegetarian. A similar lawsuit was filed against Pizza Hut for allegedly using beef fat in its Veggie Lovers' Pizza. Lawyers have been working on strategies to hold the fast food industry at least partly responsible for obesity, just as plaintiffs' attorneys have successfully sued tobacco companies for smoking-related illnesses. This is probably where Grisham picks up his ideas, from real life stories.
"Listen to this court action," I said to her and read a clip from the news release. 'The lead plaintiff, 56-year-old maintenance supervisor Caesar Barber, ate at fast-food restaurants four or five times a week and blames his fatty diet for his obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and the two heart attacks he has suffered.' Do you think he will win?" I asked.
"I guess he will, the way the trend is going," answered Katrina."You might be right." I pointed out a statement by Dr. Neal D. Barnard, a nutrition researcher and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: "This is no doubt just the first of many lawsuits holding the food industry at least partially to blame for America's diet-related epidemics."
"But there is something wrong here," commented Katrina, "and the thing that really annoys me about this is that people will happily stuff their faces with quarter pounders and large fries, milkshakes and all kinds of junk and then adopt the 'Oh, the devil made me do it' mentality. Seriously, they can eat whatever they want. It's the whole aspect of blaming others that's just immoral no one made them devour that burger. No one forces them. They have total freedom to choose healthier alternatives. That's what I think." She's got a point. I like it.
Lawyers have been working on strategies to hold the fast food industry at least partly responsible for obesity, just as plaintiffs' attorneys have successfully sued tobacco companies for smoking-related illnesses.