Put a Trial Lawyer Out of Business: Pass Meaningful Food Safety Legislation by Thanksgiving

“New food safety legislation is needed, if not for the consumer’s sake, then to put trial lawyers like me out of business,” says food safety advocate and foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler.

“Lawyers have been hated throughout the ages,” Marler continued. “One of Shakespeare's often quoted lines from 'Henry VI, Part II’ is, ‘The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.’ It’s a sentiment many share.

“The bottom line is that Congress and the President can do something good by passing comprehensive food safety legislation. Not only will it protect consumers from unsafe food, but also it will protect society from those damn trial lawyers…like me.

“In 2002, in the middle of the recall of 21 million pounds of E. coli tainted ConAgra beef that sickened 50 Americans and killed one grandmother, I wrote an Op-Ed saying that it was time to put me out of business, and that the best way to do it would be to stop poisoning people with contaminated food. My entire practice would evaporate. As strange as it may seem, that has been my goal for 17 years. Yet here I am, helping people sickened by E. coli in cookie dough pay for dialysis and kidney transplants.

“The House has courageously passed HR 2749, and has sent the legislation to the Senate, which now has S. 501 to consider. The Senate may be consumed by health care reform, but I respectfully suggest that safe food is a vital part of health care. After all, every year 76 million Americans are sickened by foodborne illness; 325,000 of them require hospitalization and 5,000 die. Imagine lifting that load from the health care system, not to mention from the shoulders of American families and businesses. It really is long past time to put me out of business.”