Friday, March 13, 2009

Appeals Court Judge Whacks Prosecutor over Salad Dressing Case

This is the sort of case you love to come across as a lawyer. The judge isn't just wicked smart: he's mad as hell. And in this case, he's mad as hell that the government decided to prosecute a guy who changed the "Best When Purchased By" date on salad-dressing bottles before reselling them in dollar stores.
As terrific as Judge Posner's decision is in Farinella, it doesn't even get into the fallacy that inheres in the very phrase, "Best When Purchased By":

Suppose I bought a bottle of an edible substance that does (unlike salad dressing) deteriorate in quality or safety or nutritional value over time. In fact, suppose I bought two bottles, both from the same production lot, but as a matter of hypo-promoting happenstance, I bought one before the BWPB date and one after. Now suppose I crack both bottles open on the same day. Is the one I bought earlier really "better" than the other?

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