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Taking a Legal Stand against Coke (The Soda, That Is)

Recently the Huffington Post ran a rather ominous article about the negative effects of diet soda on your teeth. The piece was accompanied by a disturbing picture, and stated that diet soda could have just as bad an effect on your teeth as crystal meth , which has long been known to wear down enamel and create terrible tooth decay..

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Dr. Mohammed Bassiouny, a dentist at Temple University, ran a study, comparing diet soda drinkers, methamphetamine addicts, and cocaine addicts and found similar patterns of tooth decay in all three subjects.

This leads us to wonder: Could soda manufacturers be the next target for personal injury attorneys?

Recently, citizens in Sunrise and across the state of Florida were intrigued by a personal injury suit which found three big tobacco companies guilty of an 81-year-old woman’s death from COPD and lung cancer. Though the courts determined the woman was 40% guilty for her own death, the three companies shared 60% of the responsibility and were ordered to pay $2 million in damages to the woman’s 92-year-old widow. This is just one of the many cases against big tobacco companies that have recently taken place in South Florida, most of which have ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor. And there are 9,000 more on the docket in the next few years. The trend is so common that Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times recently called Florida the “center of the tobacco litigation universe.”

So if cigarette companies can be fined millions of dollars for producing their products, what about soda companies? Dr. Bassiouny’s study is just one of thousands that point to the significant health problems associated with regular and diet soda. Regular soda causes weight gain and a higher risk of diabetes. It has been linked to high blood pressure, kidney stones, and even depression. Diet soda can cause kidney problems, metabolic syndrome, cell and DNA damage, and obesity. With all the health risks associated with the products, it seems the logical next target in the battle against personal injury from harmful products. New York City has already tried to block soda sales in city limits, and though the ruling was overturned, the fact that it got passed at all seems a harbinger of things to come. Besides, as the recent South Florida victories against tobacco companies show, a successful personal injury suit against soda companies might not be so far-fetched.

Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphy. He has been recognized for his excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”, (an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the State), and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite”.

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