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WASHINGTON - Representatives from the National Restaurant Association and the food industry recently spoke to U.S. Congress about their growing concern of lawsuits filed by obese people, The Associated Press reports.
"The thought that someone can file a lawsuit based in part on a choice they have made regarding where to dine and what to eat is disturbing," Christianne Ricchi, board member of the National Restaurant Association, said Thursday at a hearing with the House Judiciary subcommittee on commercial law.
"I fear for the industry and the impact these lawsuits could have on the economy," said Ricchi, the owner of i Ricchi, an Italian restaurant in Washington.
The association and the food industry are lobbying Congress to pass a bill by Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla., which would protect them from lawsuits. No similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.
Keller, who received $2,500 from the National Restaurant Association in the 2000 election year, according to the AP, argued that the lawsuits are frivolous and won't solve the obesity problem.
"Of course, this litigation won't make anyone skinnier, but it would make the lawyers' bank accounts fatter," Keller said.
Recently, consumers have begun suing fast food chains like McDonald's and Wendy's, arguing that the food has contributed to their obesity and diseases such as diabetes.