Jennifer Biddison

In our lawsuit-happy society, it seems you can’t trust anyone these days. A wonderful cardiologist I know spent years keeping a heart patient alive, only to be sued by the man’s family when the patient inevitably succumbed. Those who choose a not-so-well-balanced diet of Big Macs and fries over Subway are now able to sue the company that gave them so many moments of delicious ecstasy. So, as you generously distribute holiday goodies this week, it wouldn’t hurt to protect yourself from the Grinches on your gift list.

The Center for Consumer Freedom, a coalition supported by many in the food industry, doesn’t want to see you get sued for your well-meaning efforts. Sick of lawsuits tied to obesity, the Center is distributing a tongue-in-cheek document this season called the “Christmas Cookie Liability and Indemnification Agreement.”

Aimed specifically at Santa, this humorous liability waiver (available in triplicate for added protection) pokes fun at trial lawyers who want to steal the joy out of eating. The Center recommends that you have Santa sign the form before he consumes the milk and cookies you leave next to the tree.

“Saint Nick has been obese for centuries,” notes Center for Consumer Freedom senior analyst Dan Mindus. “Still, you never can be sure where the next frivolous lawsuit will come from. Insisting that Santa sign a waiver before he chows down may be the only way to protect against being hauled into court by a greedy legal Grinch.”

Santa’s signature on the waiver indicates that he won’t sue you for many of the reasons that restaurants and goodie-makers are now being sued, including:

• Your failure to provide nutritional info for your cookies
• Your failure to offer healthier cookie alternatives
• Your failure to warn that Christmas lights and other holiday decorations “may constitute manipulative marketing to lure Santa into over-consumption”
• Your failure to notify Santa that eating too many cookies may lead to greater obesity.