There Is Now Federal “Selfie” Authority

Who says the federal courts lag behind technical advances?

Well, thanks to last week’s United States v. Doe, No. 1:12–cr–00128–MR–DLH (W.D. N.C. Aug. 14 2013), we now have a federal definition of “selfie.” Well, kind of.

The opinion arises from a motion to suppress, and since we don’t opine on criminal law, we won’t recite the facts and specific issues.  But check out this footnote:

The term “selfie” is the name given to a self-portrait photograph, “often snapped at odd angles with smartphones[,]” and “typically made to post on a social networking website (or sen[t] in a text message)[.]”

See id. at *8 n.6 (citing Katy Steinmetz, “The Top 10 Buzzwords of 2012,” Time, Dec. 4, 2012,–10–news–lists/slide/selfie).

According to our very, very brief Westlaw search, this is the only state or federal court to use the word “selfie.”

Curiously, the link cited in the footnote is no longer active; the correct portion of the cited article can be found here.

The court also noted:

With the popularity of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, together with cell phones’ capability to send text messages and pictures, common sense would lead a practical person to conclude that human behavior includes the making of flattering or unflattering “selfies.” That the Defendant’s phone probably would contain evidence of the three crimes listed in the warrant application was within the issuing magistrate’s realm of lawful consideration. The issuing magistrate, therefore, had a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed.

Id. at *8.

It’s good to see courts catching up to the technological trends, and we hope any selfie-related litigation cites to this opinion.

Teeth Whitening and Antitrust

For some time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been attempting to limit the scope of anti-trust immunity under the “state action doctrine.”  The state action doctrine provides that states may take regulatory actions that would have otherwise violated federal anti-trust laws.  The FTC recently recorded a big win in this ongoing fight in the matter of  North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade CommissionCase No. 12-1172 (4th Cir. May 31, 2013).  The Fourth Circuit held that the the Board of Dental Examiners improperly expelled non-dentists from the teeth whitening market in North Carolina.

This case focused on actions of the Board, which is a state agency made up of practicing dentists, dental hygienists, and a consumer representative.  While the primary purpose of the Board is to license and discipline dentists, the board had issued dozens of cease and desist letters to non-dentists engaged in teeth-whitening services.  The FTC caught wind of this and issued an administrative complaint alleging improper exclusion of non-dentists from the market.  Of course, the Board responded by claiming that it was covered under the state action doctrine because it was a state entity that was created to regulate the practice of dentistry, which included teeth-whitening.

The Fourth Circuit held that the Board was a private actor because its majority is made up  of members who are participants in the regulated market and who were elected by fellow market participants.   In reaching this decision the Court relied on California Retail Liquor Dealers Ass’n v. Midcal Aluminum, Inc., 445 U.S. 97, 105 (1980), which held that private parties can only claim immunity if they act according to express state policy and are actively supervised by the state.  The Board was unable to meet this test because there wasn’t sufficient state oversight.  As such, the Board is subject to anti-trust laws.

For those of you keeping track at home, the NCAA is not subject to anti-trust laws but the actions of the a State Board of Dental Examiners are covered.  Makes sense in the grand scheme of things, right?

The North Carolina Legal Geek Meetups

Not too long ago, friend of the blog, Erik Mazzone of the North Carolina Law Blog, put together what he called a Legal Geek Meetup here in Charlotte.  This event was officially sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section (of which Mazzone is director). Assisting in the arrangements were two local Charlotte lawyers, myself and Ketan Soni.  (You didn’t think they would have a legal geek meeting in Charlotte without having us involved, did you?) The purpose of the first such event was to bring together like-minded young lawyers with an interest in social media and technology.  Here is the official description of the series of events:

Legal Geek events are designed to help lawyers and legal professionals interested in practice management and technology learn from each other. Each meetup focuses on a different topic, and may occasionally involve short presentations. While offered primarily to NCBA members, all local legal professionals are welcome to attend. There is no cost to attend these events.

The event was a success. Held at Charlotte’s new Heist Brewery, the meetup attracted at least 20 or so young lawyers.  (Even fabled North Carolina law blogger Lee S. Rosen made an appearance.). It was a fine – and low pressure – networking event (and by its very nature, it did not include a formal presentation or CLE credit).  Many, but not all, of the discussions had by the participants centered around tech or tech culture: Twitter, blogs, and using same to advance one’s practice. Basically, it was a just a fun get together for folks unafraid to refer to themselves as “legal geeks.”

There are upcoming events in Raleigh/Durham (April 11), Fayetteville (May 14), and, of course, Asheville (June 19).

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the events, see here.

North Carolina Court Declares Harlem Shake “Over,” Enjoins YouTube From Accepting Further Videos Depicting Same

This morning, a superior court judge in Wyatt County, North Carolina granted a citizen’s request for a declaration that the Harlem Shake was “over as a meme” and issued a corresponding injunction prohibiting YouTube from accepting further videos depicting or otherwise seeking to capitalize upon the phenomena.  See Yorke v. YouTube, LLC, et. al., No. 2013-CVS-20213 (N.C. Sup. Ct. April 1, 2013).

This is big news.

Filed in mid-March by North Carolina resident Robert Yorke, the complaint sought a declaration that the “Harlem Shake is, and of right ought to be, over and done as a meme” and requested injunctive relief to facilitate the declaration.  The Plaintiff, a self professed “social media scholar” living in Western North Carolina, found himself irked by the increasing deluge of “Harlem Shake” videos he encountered across the web. In an affidavit accompanying the motion, Mr. Yorke complained that he could not access Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, or even Friendster, without seeing at least two “Harlem Shake” parody videos.  Claiming that the ubiquitous meme caused him personal injury, “an unyielding ennui,” and business interruption, he also seeks money damages and class certification. He conceded that the meme could, for at least some initial period of time exist and begin to wither away, but argued that time had long since passed.

A hearing on the request for declaratory relief and the accompanying motion for temporary injunction was conducted last week.  This morning, the court issued its first order in the case granting the Plaintiff’s request for the aforementioned equitable relief.

Citing Wikipedia, the court defined the “Harlem Shake” as follows:

The videos usually last about 30 seconds and feature part of the 2012 song “Harlem Shake” by American electronic musician Baauer. Baauer’s song starts with a 15 seconds intro, a bass drop, then 15 seconds with the bass, and a lion roar at the end of the first 30 seconds. Usually, a video begins with one person (often helmeted or masked) dancing to the song alone for 15 seconds, surrounded by other people not paying attention or seemingly unaware of the dancing individual. When the bass drops, the video cuts to the entire crowd doing a crazy convulsive dance for the rest of the video. The dancing style should not be confused with the original Harlem Shake dance. Additionally, in the second half of the video, people often wear a minimum of clothes or crazy outfits or costumes while wielding strange props.

(The court also apparently cribbed a bit from this article from The Atlantic by Kevin Ashton in reciting the history of the meme.).

Noting a state’s compelling interest in the “orderly processing and disposal of cultural fads,” the court invoked its inherent power in granting the request. In so doing, the court relied heavily on the American Law Institute’s Restatement (2d) of Memes, which provides:

Memes are, by their very nature, ephemeral. The accelerated pace of digital culture demands that certain Internet fads be summarily dismissed to make way for the next viral video or concept. However, as initially popular memes continue to permeate the outer reaches of Internet culture, the initial perpetrators and early adopters of such a meme will grow increasingly more weary of them. Accordingly, formal judicial rejection thereof is sometimes appropriate when the meme outstays its welcome. Although litigation surrounding the evolution of a meme is usually inappropriate, a court may rely on its inherent power to steward a stale meme more quickly to its inevitable demise.

Restatement (2d) of Memes § 135 (2012); see also In re Gangnam Style Litig., No. 12191975, MDL–3500 (E.D. Tex. January 29, 2013) (noting “short lived” nature of memes and creating three pronged test to determine appropriateness of judicial intervention in same).

Noting that North Carolina had not yet adopted § 135 of the Restatement, attorneys for YouTube argued against the injunction, noting that the matter was “nonjusticiable” in the courts and that a legislative solution would be more appropriate under the circumstances.  In re: Morrissey Concert Cancellation Litig., 872 F.3d 606, 615 (D. Colo. 2013) (finding that the court’s could not fashion a remedy to prevent the British singer from canceling future concerts as such an order would be “futile, fruitless, and without any hope of earning obedience,” and thus, the issue was more apt to be addressed by the legislative branch).  In advancing this argument, YouTube’s counsel directed the court’s attention to the recent Anti-Rickrolling Statute adopted by Texas State Legislature.  See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Sec. 174.001, et. seq (prohibiting any and all attempts within the state to fool, deceive, or otherwise trick a person into viewing a video featuring and/or otherwise depicting the singer Rick Astley).  When the court rejected that argument from the bench, counsel for YouTube noted that the meme was “already dying an albeit slow death” and the parties “need only await its natural end.” Rejecting that contention as a “backwards mootness argument,” the Court proceeded to grant the Plaintiff’s request from the bench.

Under the order, YouTube has five days to develop a system to prevent uploading of additional “Harlem Shake” videos.  The order also imposed on YouTube a duty to monitor its video library for pre-injunction videos which are “particularly lame” and remove them.

The court made a number of other rulings, as well. YouTube scored a minor victory when it successfully sought to exclude the proposed expert meme testimony of Antonie Dodson at the hearing.  Further, the court denied the motion to intervene filed by a series of  YouTube commenters on the grounds that they were vexatious litigants, which the court assumed, since the movants were YouTube commenters.

A hearing on YouTube’s motion for partial summary judgment on Mr. Yorke’s alienation of affection claim has been set for May 6.

We’ll continue to keep you apprised on this case as it develops.

Stuart Mauney’s Day at the Races

Some years ago, on a hot August Friday night, “Bobby Joe” got a little too close to the action in the pit area of the local dragway.  A pickup truck, pulling a trailer loaded with a race car, ran over his foot, allegedly causing grievous injury.  It was so bad that, two days later, he decided he needed to be seen by a doctor about the bruise on the side of his foot.  Can you say “vexatious lawsuit’?  Yes, Bobby Joe sued both the truck driver and my client, the owner of the dragway.  No warnings!  No barriers to keep pedestrians away from the dangerous pit area!  No bold, yellow signs to tell spectators that it is not a good idea to absentmindedly walk near the burnout strip!  Did I mention this was my second case representing a dragway?

With this as background, I was excited when a friend invited me to attend the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month.  It’s the only four-lane concrete dragstrip in the world, where every ticket is a pit pass.  I took a stroll through the pit area, funnel cake with powdered sugar in one hand and a fried turkey leg in the other.  I took in all the sights, sounds, and smells of NHRA drag racing.  The “sights” included Top Fuel dragsters and Pro Stock race cars.  The “sounds” included high speed devices used to fix parts on the dragsters and the chatter of crew members as they made the necessary adjustments.  The “smells”?  Gas!  Exhaust!  Burned rubber!  I even got to meet Leah Pruett, who was competing in the Pro Mod series for R2B2 Racing out of Duluth, Georgia.

With our VIP credentials, we wandered over to the starting line for a closer look.  As we did so, a truck pulling one of the dragsters came perilously close to running over my foot, almost causing grievous injury.  The nascent plaintiff’s lawyer in me began to think “What if . . . ?”  Would I have a claim against NHRA for my injuries?  Would my claim be barred by my own negligence in attempting to balance a funnel cake in one hand and a turkey leg in the other?  Had I assumed the risk of injury by getting too close to the staging area?

As these thoughts went through my head, my defense attorney instincts returned.  I quickly read the reverse side of my ticket to find a “Notice and Warning to Credential Holder.”

By buying or using this credential you agree that:

YOU ASSUME ALL RISKS AND DANGER of property damage, personal injury, death, and all other hazards related in any way to attending this event, anywhere at the facility and at all times before, during or after the races.  Dangers include flying objects, vehicles, other people, conditions at the facility, and unforeseen hazards.  You agree that NHRA, track owners and operators, racing participants, and each of their respective officers, owners, officials, sponsors, contractors, employees and agents shall not be liable for any loss, damage, or injury to you and you hereby release them from all claims for liability.  Be alert for hazards at all times.

Flying objects?  Does that include the kernel of kettle corn which grazed my cornea after it flew out of the hands of the 10-year-old kid standing in line next to me at the lemonade stand?  Other people?  Are the terms “other people” and “flying objects” mutually exclusive?  Could flying objects include other people?  Does other people include the no-shirt, beer-bellied fellow with the “Mama” tattoo who bumped into me as we were shopping in the NHRA merchandise trailer?  Does “unforeseen hazards” include hearing loss from the use of defective earplugs?  So many questions and so few answers.

Despite all the risks, dangers and hazards of NHRA Racing, we had fun and would do it again.  A “shout-out” to Dave Lee (President), Roger Burgess (Founder/Chairman of the Board), and all the other folks at ProCare Rx, who sponsor the R2B2 Racing Team, for a great experience.

See y’all at the races!

Social Media Discovery – Timing is Key

As we’ve previously mentioned, our editor Jim Dedman is now contributing one monthly post to the North Carolina Law Blog.  Yesterday morning, his second submission was published at that site.  The topic: “Social Media Discovery – Timing is Key.” Jim’s post is a response to an earlier blog entry by Ernest Svenson at his Ernie the Attorney blog, which you can find here.  Jim’s post begins:

Timing is everything in litigation. That’s certainly true in the discovery arena, even when dealing with the (still) relatively new field of social media.  Recently, Ernie Svenson a/k/a Ernie the Attorney wrote a fascinating post about the perils and pitfalls of subpoenaing Facebook for an individual’s social media profile and underlying private data.  According to Ernie, Facebook usually refuses to produce a meaningful subpoena response – the good stuff you’re hoping to get will likely not be in the company’s formal response. Accordingly, he offers some alternative approaches to obtaining that data through the formal discovery process. There’s not much to add to his very thorough post; but I would offer the following tips on timing such requests.

Read the rest of the post here.

Once you start issuing subpoenas for social media discovery, you’ve tipped your hand to your opponent.  In his post, Jim offers some suggestions on how to structure and time one’s social media discovery to maximize results and avoid potential spoliation.

Volts. Chevy Volts.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and you know what that means: James Bond movies will be playing around the clock. On at least three different channels. All weekend long. For whatever reason, in America, nothing says “Thanksgiving” like British spies, beautiful women, and exotic, tropical locales. And I’m thankful for that.

For many reasons, my favorite Bond movie is Goldfinger. It has the best theme song. It has some of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history (e.g., the golden girl, the laser, the nuclear device that Bond defuses with 0:07 seconds remaining). It has Oddjob. It has Bond’s love interest, who my puritan editor Dedman is allowing me to refer to only as “P. Galore.” And, perhaps most important for the Kentucky Colonel in me, the movie takes place in Kentucky – Kentucky! – and involves horseracing. This movie was destined for greatness.

But that’s not why Goldfinger is the best. It’s the best because of the interaction between 007 and the villain, Auric Goldfinger. Without question, some of the best dialogue in the entire Bond movie franchise happens between Bond and Goldfinger, and it’s usually Goldfinger doing the talking. Which leads me to the jumping off point for this post. One of my favorite quotes, not just in Bond but probably in life, comes from Mr. Goldfinger himself: “They have a saying in Chicago. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time, it’s enemy action.”

It was 4am on April 14, 2011 in Barkhamsted, Connecticut. Homeowner Storm Connors was awakened by the sound of commotion in his garage. He went to investigate. That’s when Connors found his garage consumed in flames. Inside were two vehicles. One, a brand new lithium-ion battery powered Chevy Volt; the other, a Suzuki Samurai that Connors had converted to electric power. Both vehicles were charging their batteries at the time of the fire, and both were badly damaged. There was some initial speculation that the Volt’s battery caused the fire; but this was never confirmed. There are also reports that the same Volt caught on fire again four days later, this time, while it was not charging.

One fire? That’s happenstance.

It was early June in Wisconsin. Three weeks before, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had conducted safety tests on a Chevy Volt; specifically putting the Volt through the “pole” test (which simulates a 20mph side-impact) and the “rotisserie” test (which simulates the vehicle in a collision-related roll). The Volt passed with flying colors, earning a five-star rating, which is the highest rating that can be awarded. Three weeks later, apparently while sitting at a federal junkyard, the Volt caught fire. After investigation, it was determined that the failure to de-energize the battery, along with some other case-specific circumstances, most likely caused the fire in question.

Two fires? Mere coincidence.

It was two weeks ago at Lake Norman, North Carolina. A Volt was charging in a homeowner’s garage when a fire broke out . . . . I think you know where this is going.

And now there are the alarmists. “Three times!,” they yell. “Clearly this is enemy action! Chevy and / or the Volt has declared war on American garages. They are terrorists and must be stopped. At the very least, we must bring legal action against them, suing in every state we can for civil conspiracy, RICO, and of course, unfair trade practices. These three occasions of unfriendly fire establish a pattern of conduct that prove an evil intent toward the American people. General Motors is a scourge upon civilization!”

Alright, let’s all take a deep breath and find a quiet moment to thank God we’re not among the ranks of the products hypochondriacs.

So far, the investigation of these matters has been inconclusive. Neither GM nor the government has been able to reproduce the circumstances of the fire that occurred in June. And let it not be forgotten that the June fire happened three weeks after crash testing took place. In terms of an imminent threat to health and safety, this isn’t one. And as for the fires in April and November, the causes have yet to be determined. Although at this point, there’s no more reason to suspect that the fires originated with the electric vehicles than with faulty wiring in the walls of the garages.

But let’s say that the alarmists are right and that lithium-ion batteries caused each of the three fires at issue. To them I say, “So what?” There are somewhere around 8000 Volts on the road right now. Three malfunctions out of 8000 cars ain’t too shabby. I’ll play those odds.

Personally, I hope this is all part of a very clever marketing strategy. Sales of electric vehicles seem underwhelming, due in no small part I’m sure to the reputation that EVs have slightly more power than a spinning hamster wheel. Most folks would probably be shocked to learn that an electric vehicle has enough power to start a small fire, let alone the power to burn their own house down! It would open up a whole new male market. Forget Corvettes and Porches. If you want power, get a Volt. The ads practically write themselves. “Volt. If you don’t squeeze every ounce of performance out of your car in between charges, your car will self-destruct because you don’t deserve to drive it; the Volt will also take your house, your golf clubs, and any other vehicles you may own because you don’t deserve them either. Most drivers need not apply.”

If it were up to me, I would run the ad during this Thanksgiving’s Bond-a-thon. And I would be thankful for my royalty check from GM.

Abnormal Use and the North Carolina Law Blog

As you know, we here at Abnormal Use love blogging, so much so that our editor Jim Dedman is now contributing one monthly post to the North Carolina Law Blog.  Earlier today, his first submission was published at that site.  The topic: To Text, Or Not To Text – The Lawyers Dilemma. Jim’s post is a response to an earlier blog entry by Carolyn Elefant at the Small Firm Innovation blog.

With so many people texting one another, lawyers should pause to reflect upon whether it is an appropriate manner to communicate with clients. To whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt of Jim’s post:

[T]he medium of texting – its immediacy, its brevity, and its simplicity – suggests that it may be an inappropriate medium for any communication that is remotely substantive.  Texts, by their nature, are ephemeral.  They are not filed, they are not saved, they are generally not kept in any meaningful fashion.  However, communications with one’s clients – particularly communications which offer or purport to offer any type of legal advice – should probably be kept in one’s file.  Thus, lawyers who text may face the hassle of having to download, maintain, or otherwise track their texts and preserve them for their files.  This seems like an unnecessary task, particularly when users of smart phones can simply use an email rather than a text from the same device and avoid any issues on that front.

The North Carolina Law Blog is sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association Center for Practice Management.  A relatively new member of the legal blogosphere, it officially began in May of this year.  A group blog, it currently has 13 writers.  Jim plans to submit one post per month to the North Carolina Law Blog, and we’ll certainly direct you to any content of his at that site upon its publication.

Upon Review, Tasering Not So Funny

Fans of The Hangover undoubtedly remember the scene in which the actors are tasered by a group of children at the instruction of two police officers.  We here at Abnormal Use must admit that we found it at amusing.  Who wouldn’t find it funny watching 5000 volts of pulsed current flowing through Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis?  However, after the recent $10 million jury verdict against it, TASER International might not consider this scene a laughing matter.

Very recently, in Turner v. Taser International, Inc., Case No. 3:10-CV-00125 (W.D.N.C.), a federal jury in the Western District of North Carolina ordered TASER to pay the estate of a 17-year old North Carolina resident $10 million.  According to reports, in 2008, the boy went into cardiac arrest and died inside a grocery store after being shocked in the chest for 37 seconds by a Charlotte-Mecklenberg police officer.   The boy was tased at the store by police following a verbal dispute with his boss.  The City of Charlotte settled with the boy’s estate for $625,000 in 2009 without admitting any wrongdoing.  TASER has moved for judgment in its favor notwithstanding the verdict.

Counsel for the plaintiffs issued a press release regarding the verdict, which said the jury found TASER negligently failed to warn users that discharging the taser into the chest of a person near his heart poses a substantial risk of cardiac arrest.  The press release further indicates that the medical examiner “found no drugs” in the decedent’s system, though reports that TASER has said a drug screen was not performed either at the autopsy or at any time before the lab destroyed the teenager’s blood evidence.  In any event, presiding District Judge Conrad reportedly did not allow the defense to offer evidence that three bags of marijuana were found in the decedent plaintiff’s sock during the incident and did not instruct the jury on contributory negligence in spite of defense counsel’s argument that the plaintiff’s behavior was negligent and “necessitated the use of force by police.”  Other outlets report that the teenager had committed offenses including theft, assault of other employees, resisting arrest, and assault on law enforcement.

TASER, the leading manufacturer of conducted energy devices (CEDs), is no stranger to litigation.  It has won judgment or been dismissed from more than 125 product liability cases.  The Turner verdict is only the company’s second adverse jury verdict (the first being a $7 million verdict in 2008 which was later reduced to $200,000).  With the limited information about the case in the media, we can only speculate what distinguished this case from the previous 128.  In TASER’s opinion, “compassion may have overwhelmed the scientific evidence presented in this case.”  TASER may be right, but certainly compassion was not the only factor at play.

It stands to reason that being shocked with large amounts of electricity may not be synonymous with a trip to the spa.  According to TASER’s website, however, the 5000 volts of electricity exerted by its product have a lower risk of danger than a 110 volt wall outlet.  TASER bases this conclusion on a taser’s pulsated current versus the continuous current found in a wall outlet.  Even at a pulsated rate, 37 seconds still seems like a long time to be subjected to 5000 volts of electricity – especially in the chest area.

A study recently released by the United States Department of Justice indicated that “there is currently no medical evidence that CEDs pose a significant health risk for induced cardiac dysrhythmia when deployed reasonably.” (emphasis added)  Interestingly enough, the study fails to define “reasonably.”  Regardless of how it is interpreted, the risk of injury is present. The question is what is TASER’s duty to warn?

We do not know what warnings TASER provided police officers prior to this incident.  (According to the DOJ study, TASER now recommends changing the target zone to below the chest).  Should officers have known the dangers regardless of any inadequate warning from the manufacturer?  Certainly, the officers from The Hangover didn’t get the memo.

Want more on this story?  Try this interesting piece from the South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog.

North Carolina Takes the Rare Hamburger Off the Menu

On The Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls travels to some of the globe’s most remote areas to demonstrate how a stranded traveler might survive.  Notable among Grylls’ survival techniques is his penchant to catch and eat snakes – raw.  Raw snake does not sound appetizing to our sophisticated palates, but allow me to commend Grylls for demonstrating the benefits of consuming meat in its most natural form.  While these animalistic methods might be useful on Man vs. Wild, North Carolina isn’t buying it.

Last week, our friends at Overlawyered alerted us to a law in North Carolina which makes serving rare or medium-rare hamburgers illegal.  According to this report from America Online, the North Carolina Division of Environmental Health requires that restaurants cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit.  The restriction, which does not apply to steaks, has been implemented to reduce the likelihood of Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7.

While we admit that the sight of a bleeding piece of meat may actually be less appetizing than a live snake, we must question the necessity of the North Carolina regulation.  There is no fault in trying to protect the health and safety of your citizens, and there is no disputing the contamination concerns of ground beef.  However, it seems a little un-American to dictate how a hamburger is to served .  We need to check with Justice Scalia, but certainly the Framers of our Constitution intended free hamburger choice to be an inalienable right.

North Carolina has considered adopting the United States Food and Drug Administration standard which allows restaurants to serve rare and medium-rare hamburgers so long as a disclaimer is printed on the menus.  While we support giving individuals the choice of meat preparedness, by doing this, it appears that North Carolina is more concerned about restaurant liability than citizen health.  Apparently, the potential for food poisoning can be overlooked as long as you are aware that you are assuming the risk.

We here at Abnormal Use do not believe that Bear Grylls would recommend eating raw food on a regular basis when properly prepared options are available.  In the case of the hamburger, however, we do feel that Americans should have a choice.  If raw meat is good enough for Grylls, certainly a rare hamburger is good enough for North Carolinians.