One thing that has always struck us as odd is the difference between the way society treats individual versus corporate wrongdoing. Take for example, someone who has one drink too much and then drives, ending up causing serious injury or death to someone else.
Rightly or wrongly, our laws–both criminal and civil–will devastate that irresponsible driver. Jail, loss of job, civil judgments that take everything the irresponsible individual has are common.
When, however, an irresponsible corporation causes someone serious injury or death, the impact on the business usually isn’t that much.
Take for example the two Utah women, clients of Marler Clark, that earlier this week sued Wendy’s in federal court in Salt Lake City. Wendy’s corporate has been well aware of the very serious injuries suffered by the two women since they had the misfortune of being customers in June 2006.
Yet, is Wendy’s worried about being ruined by this litigation. Hardly. In one of its recent filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) it said;
The Company and its subsidiaries are parties to various legal actions and complaints arising in the ordinary course of business. Many of these are covered by the Company’s self-insurance or other insurance programs. Reserves related to the resolution of legal proceedings are included on the Company’s Consolidated Balance Sheets, as a liability in Accrued expenses—Other. It is the opinion of the Company that the ultimate resolution of such matters will not materially affect the Company’s financial condition or earnings.
The 6,645 unit Wendy’s chain is being sold to Atlanta-based Triarc Companies, Inc. for a mere $2.56 billion. Triarc is controlled by Atlanta billionaire Nelson Peltz and already runs the 3,700 unit Arby’s chain. The whole deal is suppose to close in the second half of the year.
It’s good to know that the little lawsuits brought by Lesiel Calvert and her husband, who live in Weber County, and Megan Richards and her husband, who live in Cache County, won’t get in the way of one corporate giant eating another.
Their attorney– Bill Marler –says all the women did was eat bad lettuce served up by Wendy’s in North Ogden, Utah and then became so sick that they had to remain in the hospital for weeks. Its these two women who’ve been devastated, while Wendy’s–the perpetrator–has been busy counting its billions.
A story on the filing of the lawsuit against Wendy’s can be found here.