Pelman V. Mcdonald's Reaction & Analysis Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Business - Law Type: Essay Paper: #98480502 Related Topics: Negligence, Dogs, Dessert, Mcdonalds
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Hossenlopp v. Cannon. The case in question pertains to negligence as it pertains to dog bites and the implications that these events can have on owners when it comes to legal liability. Further, there was a differing state-to-state standard about whether it mattered or not if the owner of the dog had prior knowledge of the dog engaging in aggressive behavior. While it mattered in South Carolina as to whether prior knowledge of viciousness existed, this was not the case in California and the latter was the standard employed in the Hossenlopp case.

Hossenlopp v. Cannon Case Brief

The facts of the Hossonlopp/Cannon case are quite simple. Indeed, a review of the case brief on Find A Case reveals that not even the Cannons really disagreed with the basic facts of the case. What occurred is that a young boy by the name of Hossenlopp was being watched by a babysitter. He was riding his bike in the general vicinity of the babysitter's house. The babysitter had her own dogs but they were fenced in and were not running loose. The same could not be said of the dogs that happened across the young boy Hossenlopp while he was playing. Hossenlopp and the boy he was with tried to escape by hopping the fence but Hossenlopp sustained dog-bite injuries anyway. The three issues and contentions behind the tort in question are that:

1) The defendants kept a dog that was dangerous and the defendants knew the dog was dangerous

2) The defendants allowed the dog to run at large in violation of applicable statutes

3) The defendants failed to restrain their animal

In reviewing the brief, and as alluded to just above, most of the facts were not in dispute. The owners of the offending dog did not dispute the second or third item…just the first (Find-A-Case, 2015).

Rule

The combination of the fact that laws existed that barred dogs from being allowed to run at large and the fact that the owner of the dog did precisely that is, by itself, enough to rule in favor of Hossenlopps. The dog was loose, it should not have been lose, injuries were caused and thus the owner of the dog should be held negligent. As for the "prior knowledge" part, there was some accounting of some negative events involving the dog in question but there was question as to whether the Cannons were fully and completely aware (Find-A-Case, 2015).

Analysis

The Cannons clearly did not secure their dog and clearly (at a bare minimum) should be held responsible for the medical bills of the Hossenlopp boy. However, it is interesting that they questioned the "propensity" for the dog to be vicious because not knowing of the viciousness would basically get them off the hook in the state of South Carolina. However, this became moot when the court used the California definition of negligence when it comes to dog bites. The California standard does NOT require there to be prior knowledge of the dog being vicious for liability to be assignable to the defendant (Find-A-Case, 2015).

Conclusion

In the end, the California standard for dog bite cases seems to be the more standard one. Indeed, it does make sense that if a person is not in care and control of their dog (in a fenced yard, on a leash, etc.), then any damage the dog wreaks is the responsibility and liability of the owner. Further, if the dog is known to be vicious and the owner is negligent in any way, this should enhance the criminal or civil actions that the defendant is potentially subject to up to and including punitive damages and/or confiscation and destroying of the animal by the relevant authorities. However, this case did not really cover that. Even so, these are questions and issues that come up in more modern dog bite cases (Find-A-Case, 2015).

Reference

Find-A-Case. (2015). FindACase | HOSSENLOPP v. CANNON. Sc.findacase.com.

Retrieved 22 June 2015, from http://sc.findacase.com/research / wfrmDocViewer.aspx / xq/fac.19850426_0040109.SC.htm/qx

McDonald's/Pelman Lawsuit

This assignment pertains to the lawsuit that McDonald's had to fight off by a man named Pelman. In that case, there was the assertion that McDonald's was negligent for the high fat content in its foods and thus should pay damages to those that experienced negative health outcomes from eating their food. The author will cover the basic timeline of the case as well as the general public reactions to the case itself, the premise behind it and the outcome that occurred. While negligence can often be fairly black and white in a legal sense, there are most definitely shades of gray and degrees to which each side of the case is (or is not) responsible for what transpired.

Timeline...

...

The overall timeline is as follows:

July 2002: The first lawsuit came from a man, Barber, who was an obese fifty-six-year-old that claimed that McDonald's Corporation, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Wendy's were responsible for his obesity and other health-related problems.

August 2002: The Pelman case came a few months later. The case was filed on behalf of two obese teenagers and their parents. The cases was removed to federal district court.

January 22nd, 2003: Judge Sweet dismissed the suit with leave to amend.

September 3rd, 2003: The district court dismissed the suit again. The second dismissal was with prejudice and without leave to amend.

January 25th, 2005: A court opinion vacating part of the district court's dismissal and remanding the case back to district court for a third time. As of date of this report, the third hearing of the case at the district level has not occurred (Harvard, 2005).

The author of this report did a brief combing of the internet and found a mention in a 2010 story that the Pelman case was apparently still percolating but could not proceed as a "group case" (Harris, 2010). As for the public reaction from the case, it would seem to be divided into two camps. One camp would suggest that McDonald's is indeed insidious and deceptive in their practices and they thus should bear some liability. However, the more common refrain would seem to be that Pelman should understand that eating any fast food to excess will absolutely ruin her health and that she should perhaps eat healthier and exercise if she does not want to be so unhealthy. One person or group that weighed in a major way was the United States Congress. They were actually discussing a bill that would block lawsuits like the one that Pelman brought (University of Houston, 2015).

As for the public at large, an article by Mello, Rimm and Studdert noted that there was clearly a "negative public reaction" to the lawsuit. Even so, it is also noted that "fast food litigation raises the question of where accountability for the economic and public health consequences of obesity properly rests. An example of the fast food industry being held to account for what they were doing (or not doing) is also mentioned in the Mello story when it is referenced that McDonald's was called out for not listing the nutritional content and statistics of its food in a more prominent fashion (Mello, Rimm & Studdert, 2003). The opinion of the company's lawyers was not in any question as they asserted that the matter "was really about common sense and individual responsibility." Indeed, they asserted that ignorance about the health of certain foods does not make McDonald's liable if Pelman and Jazlyn Bradley (the co-plaintiff on the Pelman suit) ate the foods to excess and did not seem to notice that they were plumping up (Santora, 2002).

Conclusion

The case of McDonald's and the lawsuits from the likes of Pelman would seem to be a case of people not taking accountability for their own actions and/or having a very broad definition of what negligence is. Indeed, if McDonald's was overtly lying about the health and content of its products, then that would mean a potential (if not likely) criminal or civil problem for McDonald's. However, there are many food chains that serve foods that are extremely unhealthy on their own but people eat them all the time. The Outback Steakhouse "Blooming Onion" and desserts at many restaurants can be cited as other examples. Indeed, the only negligence that is happening with the Pelman case is with Pelman and her parents…not McDonald's. McDonald's may be rightly labeled as a grim guidepost of where America is from a nutrition standpoint but that does not make their actions criminal or actionable from a lawsuit standpoint. The main concern regarding the Pelman lawsuit is where the line between self-responsibility and corporate negligence is drawn. The lawsuit does have implications on many industries but will probably be worked out by the courts. The author of this report, as clearly noted above, does not agree with the common public opinion because Pelman…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Harris, A. (2015). McDonald's Obesity Case Can't Proceed as Group Suit. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 22 June 2015, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2010-10-27/mcdonald-s-obesity-case-judge-rejects-bid-for-group-suit-status

Harvard. (2015). Dash.harvard.edu. Retrieved 22 June 2015, from http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8852143/Benloulou05.pdf?sequence=1

SANTORA, M. (2015). Teenagers' Suit Says McDonald's Made Them Obese. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 22 June 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/21/nyregion/teenagers-suit-says-mcdonald-s-made-them-obese.html

University of Houston. (2015). Pelman v. McDonald's and the Fast Food Craze, Health Law & Policy Institute. Law.uh.edu. Retrieved 22 June 2015, from https://www.law.uh.edu/healthlaw/perspectives/Obesity/040322Pelman.html


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