I think that either Mepis, Ubuntu, Linux Mint would be good for a new user. In no particular order.
Mepis -- nice hardware recognition, quick and easy installation, great user forums; closely based on Debian, so a lot of Debian solutions work fine in Mepis
Ubuntu -- easy installation; there are so many users out there that once you learn to search the forums and documentation you'll probably be able to find an answer to any question you might have
Linux Mint -- quick and easy installation -- most things "work" right away; closely based on Ubuntu, so often you can use the Ubuntu forums and documentation for help in Mint
Those are some "pros." Every distros has its "cons" and Linux folks are never shy about pointing those out! Best thing to do, in my opinion, is to try a distro out, stick with it for more than a few months, and see for yourself. Where one person sees something negative, you might see something positive.