Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Capitalism & the Law: Resturant Scoffs Law Professor

Blaine Hardenof the Washington Post reports that a Seattle resturant is sticking it to John Banzhaf, GW Professor of Public Interest Law.

In an attempt to make a law professor in the other Washington look silly, a popular restaurant here is requiring customers to sign a liability waiver before they eat a fat-by-design dessert called The Bulge.

The waiver, a semi-serious gimmick that might be the first of its kind in the United States, is displayed in poster-sized dimensions near the front door of the 5 Spot, an eatery on Seattle's affluent Queen Anne Hill.

"I will not impose any of sort of obesity-related lawsuit against the 5 Spot or consider any similar type of frivolous legislation created by a hungry trial lawyer," the release says. After a diner signs it, a waiter hauls out a sugarcoated, deep-fried, ice cream-swaddled, caramel-drizzled, whipped-cream-anointed banana.

"We thought, what can we do to illustrate how stupid it is to make restaurants responsible for monitoring the eating habits of Americans?" said Peter Levy, co-owner of the 5 Spot. "We came up with the most fattening and delicious dessert we could think of."

In the week since The Bulge appeared on the menu (and has been ordered by more than 150 patrons, most of them women), Levy said he has been besieged by calls from foreign radio stations. "They all ask the same question: 'What are you crazy Americans doing now?' "

The lawyer being mocked by the fat banana is John F. Banzhaf III, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School. He is a successful anti-tobacco litigator who recently turned his attention to America's obesity epidemic.
Too funny.

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