Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 431, August 19, 2007

"None of the bureaucrats could understand why I was upset."


Hate the Cheese, Love the Lawsuit
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

We all know the story about the stupid lady who sued McDonald's because she spilled hot coffee in her lap.

We all know about the fat kids who got fat eating Mickey D's three times a day. . . then sued.

The history of McDonald's—or at least the modern history of McDonald's—has become a symbol of America's overly litigious society. Once upon a time, the corporation exemplified American entrepreneurial success. But today, it represents American instant gratification—not only in terms of the food it serves quickly, but the get-rich-quick lawsuits it consistently inspires.

I'm no fan of most McDonald's lawsuits. I wasn't sure I would ever condone a single one of them—that is, until I learned about the latest.

In 2005, a West Virginia man by the name of Jeromy Jackson bit into a Quarter Pounder in a dark room where he was watching a movie. He thought he had made it perfectly clear he couldn't eat cheese on his sandwich. But then, with his first bite, he suffered a violent allergic reaction—forcing his mother and friend to rush him to the hospital, where he reportedly darn near died.

Jackson & Co. are now suing McDonald's for $10 million. And, understandably, most folks will roll their eyes when they first hear this story and read that gargantuan figure.

I am not lactose intolerant, but I sympathize with Jackson. Moreover, I have no sympathy whatsoever for McDonald's here. True, had he lifted his bun and checked before biting, Jackson could have saved himself from harm. But at what point do we say enough is enough already? McDonald's "mistake" was no honest error. These fast food chains have been pushing cheese on us for years.

Walk into any one of these places and you'll see for yourself firsthand. I can't tell you how many times I've gone into Wendy's and ordered a hamburger, only to hear the first words from their mouth: "You want that with cheese?"

Of course I don't want that with cheese. If I wanted it with cheese, I would've ordered a cheeseburger—not a hamburger. Why not ask if I want it with a colonoscopy at that point? Because in case you haven't noticed, I didn't order one of those, either.

This—and not something crazy, like my health—is the reason I've virtually cut fast food from my regular diet. I just can't take the blatant slaps in my face anymore. If I'm gonna eat cheese on a burger, it's gonna be a nice, freshly sliced piece of cheese I get from the deli—not the cold sheet of unmelted vulcanized rubber they serve at my local McDonald's.

Even after specifically not ordering a cheeseburger, and specifically telling them no, I don't want cheese on my non-cheeseburger, they still put cheese on it half the time anyway. I'm fed up with it. We should all be fed up with it. Especially those of us who are lactose intolerant, such as Jeromy Jackson.

For $10 million, there's no doubt in my mind Jackson's lawsuit has a certain get-rich-quick quality to it. But if it puts these evil cheese peddlers at McDonald's in their place, then I say do it. Sue the cheese out of them.

Maybe next time you'll serve me what I actually ordered—instead of sandwiching your hate-filled, cheese-pushing agenda between two soggy buns.

Jonathan David Morris writes from Philadelphia. He can be reached at


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