A federal judge has cleared the way for Byron Allen's $10 billion discrimination lawsuit against McDonald's to move forward, denying the fast-food giant's request to toss the suit after Allen's earlier complaint against it was dismissed.
McDonald’s USA’s most recent motion was denied “for improperly referencing materials outside the pleadings,” U.S. District Court Judge Fernando M. Olguin wrote in his decision on Jan. 21, which directed McDonald’s to either respond to Allen’s lawsuit or refile its motion no later than this Friday, Jan. 27. The suit was dismissed in November on the grounds that it lacked sufficient evidence.
At the heart of the proceedings, which were brought in the name of Entertainment Studios and the Weather Group, two companies helmed by Allen, is the claim that McDonald’s engages in patterns of racial stereotyping and regularly refuses to conduct business with Black-owned media companies in its advertising business.
“We look forward to presenting our enormous evidence in court, which will prove the systemic racism at McDonald’s,” Allen, CEO of Allen Media Group, said in a statement.
McDonald’s responded to the ruling by calling it procedural and reaffirming that it “continues to believe plaintiffs’ claims are meritless.”
Allen’s original lawsuit, which was filed in May 2021, alleged that of its “approximately $1.6 billion annual television advertising budget, McDonald’s spends less than approximately $5 million each year on African American-owned media, and it has refused to advertise on Entertainment Studios networks or The Weather Channel since Allen acquired the network in 2018.”
The initial suit was thrown out by Judge Olguin in late November, who said at the time that the plaintiffs in the case had failed to present enough evidence to prove their claims, though allowed Entertainment Studios and the Weather Group to re-file.