< Back to H.R. 554 (109th Congress, 2005–2006)

Text of the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005

This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the House on October 19, 2005 but was never passed by the Senate. The text of the bill below is as of Oct 21, 2005 (Placed on Calendar in the Senate).

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HR 554 PCS

Calendar No. 254

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 554

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 20, 2005

Received; read the first time

October 21, 2005

Read the second time and placed on the calendar


AN ACT

To prevent legislative and regulatory functions from being usurped by civil liability actions brought or continued against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims of injury relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings- Congress finds that--

      (1) the food and beverage industries are a significant part of our national economy;

      (2) the activities of manufacturers and sellers of foods and beverages substantially affect interstate and foreign commerce;

      (3) a person's weight gain, obesity, or a health condition associated with a person's weight gain or obesity is based on a multitude of factors, including genetic factors and the lifestyle and physical fitness decisions of individuals, such that a person's weight gain, obesity, or a health condition associated with a person's weight gain or obesity cannot be attributed to the consumption of any specific food or beverage; and

      (4) because fostering a culture of acceptance of personal responsibility is one of the most important ways to promote a healthier society, lawsuits seeking to blame individual food and beverage providers for a person's weight gain, obesity, or a health condition associated with a person's weight gain or obesity are not only legally frivolous and economically damaging, but also harmful to a healthy America.

    (b) Purpose- The purpose of this Act is to allow Congress and regulatory agencies to determine appropriate laws, rules, and regulations to address the problems of weight gain, obesity, and health conditions associated with weight gain or obesity.

SEC. 3. PRESERVATION OF SEPARATION OF POWERS.

    (a) In General- A qualified civil liability action may not be brought in any Federal or State court.

    (b) Dismissal of Pending Actions- A qualified civil liability action that is pending on the date of the enactment of this Act shall be dismissed immediately by the court in which the action was brought or is currently pending.

    (c) Discovery-

      (1) STAY- In any action that is allegedly of the type described in section 4(5) seeking to impose liability of any kind based on accumulative acts of consumption of a qualified product, the obligation of any party or non-party to make disclosures of any kind under any applicable rule or order, or to respond to discovery requests of any kind, as well as all proceedings unrelated to a motion to dismiss, shall be stayed prior to the time for filing a motion to dismiss and during the pendency of any such motion, unless the court finds upon motion of any party that a response to a particularized discovery request is necessary to preserve evidence or to prevent undue prejudice to that party.

      (2) RESPONSIBILITY OF PARTIES- During the pendency of any stay of discovery under paragraph (1), the responsibilities of the parties with regard to the treatment of all documents, data compilations (including electronically recorded or stored data), and tangible objects shall be governed by applicable Federal or State rules of civil procedure. A party aggrieved by the failure of an opposing party to comply with this paragraph shall have the applicable remedies made available by such applicable rules, provided that no remedy shall be afforded that conflicts with the terms of paragraph (1).

    (d) Pleadings- In any action that is allegedly of the type described in section 4(5) seeking to impose liability of any kind based on accumulative acts of consumption of a qualified product, the complaint initiating such action shall state with particularity for each defendant and cause of action--

      (1) each element of the cause of action and the specific facts alleged to satisfy each element of the cause of action;

      (2) the Federal and State statutes or other laws that allegedly create the cause of action; and

      (3) the section 4(5)(B) exception being relied upon and the specific facts that allegedly satisfy the requirements of that exception.

    (e) Rule of Construction- No provision of this Act shall be construed to create a public or private cause of action or remedy.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS- The term `engaged in the business' means a person who manufactures, markets, distributes, advertises, or sells a qualified product in the person's regular course of trade or business.

      (2) MANUFACTURER- The term `manufacturer' means, with respect to a qualified product, a person who is lawfully engaged in the business of manufacturing the product.

      (3) PERSON- The term `person' means any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, joint stock company, or any other entity, including any governmental entity.

      (4) QUALIFIED PRODUCT- The term `qualified product' means a food (as defined in section 201(f) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321(f))).

      (5) QUALIFIED CIVIL LIABILITY ACTION-

        (A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraph (B), the term `qualified civil liability action' means a civil action brought by any person against a manufacturer, marketer, distributor, advertiser, or seller of a qualified product, or a trade association, for damages, penalties, declaratory judgment, injunctive or declaratory relief, restitution, or other relief arising out of, or related to a person's accumulated acts of consumption of a qualified product and weight gain, obesity, or a health condition that is associated with a person's weight gain or obesity, including an action brought by a person other than the person on whose weight gain, obesity, or health condition the action is based, and any derivative action brought by or on behalf of any person or any representative, spouse, parent, child, or other relative of that person.

        (B) EXCEPTION- A qualified civil liability action shall not include--

          (i) an action based on allegations of breach of express contract or express warranty, provided that the grounds for recovery being alleged in such action are unrelated to a person's weight gain, obesity, or a health condition associated with a person's weight gain or obesity;

          (ii) an action based on allegations that--

            (I) a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a Federal or State statute applicable to the marketing, advertisement, or labeling of the qualified product with intent for a person to rely on that violation;

            (II) such person individually and justifiably relied on that violation; and

            (III) such reliance was the proximate cause of injury related to that person's weight gain, obesity, or a health condition associated with that person's weight gain or obesity; or

          (iii) an action brought by the Federal Trade Commission under the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) or by the Federal Food and Drug Administration under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.).

      (6) SELLER- The term `seller' means, with respect to a qualified product, a person lawfully engaged in the business of marketing, distributing, advertising, or selling a qualified product.

      (7) STATE- The term `State' includes each of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory or possession of the United States, and any political subdivision of any such place.

      (8) TRADE ASSOCIATION- The term `trade association' means any association or business organization (whether or not incorporated under Federal or State law) that is not operated for profit, and 2 or more members of which are manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, or sellers of a qualified product.

Passed the House of Representatives October 19, 2005.

Attest:

JEFF TRANDAHL,

Clerk.

Calendar No. 254

109th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 554

AN ACT

To prevent legislative and regulatory functions from being usurped by civil liability actions brought or continued against food manufacturers, marketers, distributors, advertisers, sellers, and trade associations for claims of injury relating to a person's weight gain, obesity, or any health condition associated with weight gain or obesity.


October 20, 2005

Received; read the first time

October 21, 2005

Read the second time and placed on the calendar