New Lawsuit Against Wendy's Mirrors Successful One Against McDonald's
Law Students Forced Mickey D to Pay $10 Million For Making a Truthful Claim
The lawsuit against McDonald's was based upon a claim that its french fries were cooked in 100% vegetable oil
However, the claim, although technically true, was actually misleading, since some beef flavoring was actually added during processing before the fries were shipped to the local franchise location.
As a result, the lawsuit argued, millions of Hindus, vegetarians, and others who would never even dream of consuming a product containing beef fat were tricked into violating their most strongly held beliefs.
Under the settlement, the fast food giant paid out $10,000,000 plus attorney's fees, agreed to clarify its food claims so as to better inform those strongly opposed for religious or other reasons to consuming animal products, and issue a public apology, says Banzhaf.
The law students obviously learned a lot, more than they probably would have listening to hours of lectures and Socratic questioning, says Banzhaf, noting for example, that one, James Pizzirusso, is now a partner at Housfeld in Washington, D.C., a major plaintiff's class action law firm.
Because the law professor also played a major role in high-stakes litigation against tobacco companies, it's not surprising that his similar amazing success in the McDonald's suit prompted Slate to ask "Are French Fires The Next Marlboro?," and Fortune magazine to feature a cover story entitled "Is Fat The Next Tobacco?"
Subsequently, the McDonald's case has given rise to a growing number of successful "fat lawsuit" cases, forced the restaurant industry to try unsuccessfully to persuade Congress to pass a so-called "cheeseburger bill" to shield themselves for legal liability, and even give rise to expensive courses to train attorneys representing food companies how to defend against such attacks.
Even more broadly, the law students' McDonald's french fry litigation is credited with opening the doors to the current wave of "food fraud" litigation which has led to hundreds of lawsuits challenging health claims, food advertising, and label omissions.
A copy of the legal complaint filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia can be found at http://banzhaf.net/