What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Fast Food Industry : H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Preserve States' Rights to Litigate on Behalf of Consumers in Weight-Related Lawsuits Involving Alleged Violations of State Consumer Protection Laws.
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H.R. 339. Food Industry Lawsuits/Vote to Preserve States' Rights to Litigate on Behalf of Consumers in Weight-Related Lawsuits Involving Alleged Violations of State Consumer Protection Laws.
house Roll Call 49     Mar 10, 2004
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

During debate on legislation to shield corporations such as McDonald's and Burger King from weight-related lawsuits in both state and federal courts, Congressman Watt (D-NC) offered an amendment which would have restricted provisions in the underlying bill to lawsuits filed in federal courts. In other words, had Watt's amendment passed, states' Attorneys General would have retained their access to state courts if they chose to litigate on behalf of consumers in their state in cases involving alleged abuses of state consumer protection laws. Progressives voted in favor of Watt's proposal because, in their view, states' Attorneys General should retain the ability to hold corporations accountable for any violations of state consumer protection laws. Conservatives voted against Watt's amendment and argued that legal protections for fast food chains at both the state and federal levels were needed both to maintain legal uniformity in weight-related cases across states and to prevent a flood of frivolous lawsuits in state courts. Those lawsuits, Conservatives argued, could force companies to incur millions of dollars in legal expenses to the detriment of the estimated 12 million workers in the fast food industry. On a vote of 158-261, Watt's amendment was defeated and the underlying legislation was not amended to preserve states' rights to litigate on behalf of consumers in weight-related lawsuits involving alleged violations of state consumer protection laws.

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