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Old Obese man sues fast food chains... @ 08-23-2002, 05:37 AM

A New York lawyer is taking action against the purveyors of foods he claims are responsible for his clients' obesity and health problems.

Alleging that McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC Corp. post irresponsible and deceptive nutritional information and create a de facto addiction in their customers, attorney Samuel Hirsch filed suit Wednesday in Bronx Supreme Court in New York.

The suit also seeks to force the restaurants to offer healthier items and ingredients on menus.

"You don't need nicotine or an illegal drug to create an addiction, you're creating a craving," Hirsch told Fox. "I think we'll find that the fast-food industry has not been totally up front with the consumers."

According to The New York Post, plaintiff Caesar Barbar was a self-confessed fast-food junkie until 1996, when a doctor told him his diet was endangering his life.

Barbar said he started eating at fast-food chains years ago because it was cheap and efficient.

"I always thought it was good for you," he said. "I never thought there was anything wrong with it," Barbar told the Post. The 5-foot-10 maintenance worker weighs more than 270 pounds

Barbar is the lead complainant in the suit, but Hirsch claims to have six others, all regular fast-food customers suffering from ailments ranging from obesity to diabetes.

Damages sought in the suit have not been specified, but Hirsch has said that he wants to force the fast-food industry to, "offer a larger variety to the consumers, including non-meat vegetarian, less grams of fat, and a reduction of size" of their meals, along with federal legislation that would require warning labels on fast food similar to those on tobacco products".

Israel Bradley said his ritual of eating 1 pound of french fries a week gave him high blood pressure, diabetes, made him obese and forced him to walk with a cane.

Restaurant industry officials have lambasted the suit as ridiculous, and commented that personal responsibility is a factor deserving of consideration.

Walter Olson, a Manhattan Institute fellow, told Fox that the suit was a blatant attempt to cash in on recent publicity over obesity and the massive tobacco lawsuit judgements.
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