NEW FAT LAWSUIT AGAINST FAST-FOOD CHAINS

Attorney Files Overweight Children Case

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- The attorney representing an overweight New Yorker in a lawsuit against four fast-food chains has filed a second class action case on behalf of overweight children.

Samuel Hirsch, the lawyer for Caesar Barber of New York, today said he has filed the second case because "we feel the advertising strategies [of quick-service chains] target children."

In July, Mr. Barber filed a suit with the Supreme Court of New York against McDonald's Corp., Diageo's Burger King Corp., Yum Brands' KFC Corp. and Wendy's International, blaming the chains for making him and others fat and raising his risk of illness related to being overweight.

Obesity epidemic
So far, much of the

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case is based on scientific studies documenting the what is being called an epidemic in domestic obesity and related illnesses. The lawsuit charges that the fast feeders are negligently, recklessly or intentionally distributing and selling products "high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol content which numerous studies have shown cause obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, elevated cholesterol intake, related cancers and/or other detrimental and adverse health affects and/or diseases."

While many observers doubt the case has any chance to succeed, marketers have begun making defensive moves. McDonald's announced on Tuesday it would roll out in October a new cooking oil with lower levels of transfatty acid, which is linked to raising "bad" cholesterol levels.

"The worst thing you can do when you're being sued is to run around changing things," said consultant Dick Adams, a former McDonald's operator. "I think McDonald's has been way too responsive to criticism on this."

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