Seventh Annual Wacky Warning Label Contest
Fishing lure which warns, "Harmful if swallowed," catches one of the top awards
A five-inch fishing lure which sports three steel hooks and cautions users that it is, "Harmful if swallowed," has been identified as one of the nation's wackiest warning labels in an annual contest sponsored by a consumer watchdog group.The Wacky Warning Label Contest, now in it's seventh year, is conducted by Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, M-LAW, to reveal how lawsuits, and fear of lawsuits, have prompted many manufacturers to issue warnings against even obvious misuses of consumer products. The winning labels were selected from a list of M-LAW's finalists by listeners of the Dick Purtan show on Detroit radio station, WOMC-FM 104.3. The fishing lure warning actually placed fourth.
GRAND PRIZE The $500 grand prize for the wackiest label was awarded to Robert Brocone of Euclid, Ohio for a warning he found on a bottle of drain cleaner which says: "If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions and warnings, do not use this product." Brocone also wins a copy of the book, "The Death of Common Sense," by Philip K. Howard, chairman of the legal reform group, Common Good. And, for the first time, the winner of the top prize receives a special edition wacky warning label coffee mug produced by the Common Good coalition. A recent Newsweek magazine cover story reported on Common Good's campaign to focus national attention on the impact legal fear is having in our society.
The $250 second place award went to Alexander Tabarrok of Fairfax, Virginia for a label on a snow sled which says: "Beware: sled may develop high speed under certain snow conditions."
Third place and $100 goes to Bob Skowronek of Northville, Michigan who purchased a 12-inch-high storage rack for compact disks which warns: "Do not use as a ladder."
Fourth place, as mentioned above, went to the fishing lure, sent in by Melissa Cerrito, Atlantic Mine, Michigan, and Fifth place goes to a smoke detector which warns: "Do not use the Silence Feature in emergency situations. It will not extinguish a fire," sent in by Bill Masterson, Ft. Myers, Florida
"Wacky warning labels are a sign of our lawsuit-plagued times," said Robert B. Dorigo Jones, M-LAW president. "It used to be that if someone spilled coffee in their lap, they simply called themselves clumsy. Today, too many people are calling themselves an attorney. This "sue first, ask questions later" mentality has not only produced wacky warning labels, it has increased the cost of products and services families use daily. That's the real problem."
M-LAW is a non-profit organization working to increase public awareness of how the explosion in litigation is hurting America. M-LAW is dedicated to restoring common sense and personal responsibility to the courts.