- The Washington Times - Friday, October 8, 2004

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Restaurants and other purveyors of food that might make people fat would be immune from civil lawsuits under legislation signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

The new law signed Thursday shields food manufacturers, packers, distributors, sellers, marketers and advertisers from civil liability for personal injury or death attributed to weight gain or an obesity-related condition.

It won’t stop lawsuits filed for altering or misbranding food with malicious intent.

Rep. David Palsrok introduced the bill as a way to prevent future lawsuits.

“I think it sends an important message to people in Michigan when it comes to issues of personal health and obesity,” he said. “Folks have to take personal responsibility for their actions.”

Similar legislation has been approved in at least 12 other states. In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation prohibiting such suits, but the measure has not progressed in the Senate.

The Michigan Trial Lawyers Association opposed the legislation when it was considered by a state House committee in May. The organization said then that it was unaware of any obesity-related lawsuits filed against the food industry in Michigan.

“The bill has little or nothing to do with encouraging personal responsibility and everything to do with encouraging corporate irresponsibility,” the association said.

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