Calls Future Attempts to Sue Fast-Food Giant 'Futile'

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- A federal judge today tossed out an amended obesity lawsuit against McDonald's Corp. and blocked the plaintiffs from filing a third suit, calling future attempts "futile."

Filed as a class action lawsuit on behalf of two obese children, the suit alleged these children suffered health problems such as diabetes to heart disease after being misled by McDonald's advertising to eat food that was unhealthy for them.

36-page ruling
But in a 36-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet of the Southern District of New York

Related Stories:
Said Plaintiffs Should Have Known About Fast Food's Ill Health Effects
said the plaintiffs failed "to draw an adequate casual connection between the consumption of McDonald's food and their alleged injuries." He said factors including heredity, environment and total diet were necessary to determine "the particular effect of McDonald's foods on their obesity and other injuries."

Judge Sweet also said lawyers for the children failed to make "explicit allegations that they witnessed any particular deceptive advertisement," and that "the one advertisement which plaintiffs implicitly allege to have caused their injuries is objectively nondeceptive."

In that 1990 ad, McDonald's said its fries were cooked in 100% vegetable oil and contained no cholesterol, when in fact the oil contained beef or extracts and trans fatty acids. However, the plaintiffs didn't address whether McDonald's made any claims on the effect of its french fries on cholesterol levels, the judge said.

'Total victory'
McDonald's Corp., in a statement, called the decision a "total victory."

Others say the case is far from over. The dismissal "was expected and will not deter the filing of additional law suits," said John Banzhaf, a George Washington University Law School professor who served as an advisor on the suit, in a statement he posted on his Web site.

Samuel Hirsch, a lawyer for the children, didn't return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

Most Popular
In this article: