COMMENTARY | Natasha Marie Harris died in February 2010. Allegedly, she ingested over two gallons of Coca Cola on a daily basis. Harris also smoked 30 cigarettes a day. She left behind eight children, all under the age of 12, according to Yahoo! News New Zealand. A coroner’s inquest is looking into how Harris died due to the unusual circumstances.
Her family is hoping to get compensation for her death and the target of any litigation would be the soda company. They also believe the soda giant should put warning labels on their product. Coca Cola flatly denies responsibility for her death.
I’m no lawyer, but common sense should prevail. Caffeine and nicotine are not food groups.
Harris’ teeth had rotted and her partner said the woman rarely ate. Malnutrition was cited in her death. Instead of taking personal responsibility for her own life, Harris simply kept going with whatever addiction she had.
The case is sad. Eight kids will grow up without a mother. Finding answers is never easy in a situation like this. Yet suing Coca Cola is sadly misplaced.
Do families of victims of gun murders sue firearms companies? Should doughnut shops be sued for people who are overweight? Would families sue the National Weather Service if a loved one dies in a tornado?
Soda is a part of today’s society. That doesn’t mean everyone should drink it. The same thing goes for cars and guns. Just because they exist doesn’t mean everyone should drive a car or own a firearm.
This example is another lawsuit that lacks any personal responsibility on the side of Harris’ family. Harris was a stay-at-home mother and I assume didn’t contribute to the family financially. There are family members who can help raise the kids while the father works.
The motto for any possible litigation is “all may, some might, none must.” In other words, everyone may drink soda as it is a freedom we enjoy. Some people, but not everyone, might drink soda. Yet no one absolutely has to drink Coca Cola as if their lives depended upon the consumption of the beverage.
I can understand the coroner’s inquest to determine the young woman’s cause of death. I can only hope that any trial judge in New Zealand has the common sense to throw out any lawsuit seeking damages.
Soda doesn’t need warning labels. Knowledge is power but ignorance can kill you. A little common sense certainly might have gone a long way for one mother who couldn’t stop her addiction.