Cases & Investigations

Block v. McDonald’s Corporation

CASE NUMBER: 01-CH-9137
PRACTICE AREAS: Consumer Protection
CASE STATUS: Settled
SETTLEMENT AMOUNT: $12.5 million
COURT: Illinois Circuit Court, Cook County

The firm served as co-lead counsel and obtained a settlement of $12.5 million with McDonald’s in 2002 stemming from its failure to disclose the use of beef fat in its french fries.

Berger Montague, led by Shareholders Sherrie Savett and Michael Fantini, along with other counsel, reached a settlement of litigation against McDonald’s Corporation on behalf of a class of persons having ethical, moral, health, and/or religious objections or concerns with respect to the consumption of beef or meat.  The suits arose out of the fast-food chain’s misrepresentation that its french fries and hash browns are cooked in 100% vegetable oil, when in fact they contain a small amount of beef flavoring, and thus are not vegetarian.  Plaintiffs alleged that McDonald’s conduct, among other things, violated various state consumer statutes and common law prohibitions against unfair and/or deceptive business practices.

The settlement provides, among other things, that McDonald’s will issue an apology, which will be published on its web site and in certain print publications.  Moreover, as part of the settlement, McDonald’s will pay $10 million into a cy pres fund for distribution to charitable organizations promoting, among other things, vegetarianism, Hindu and/or Sikh religious practices, Kosher dietary laws, and children’s nutrition and hunger relief.  Finally, an advisory board will be formed to make recommendations to the company regarding the vegetarian, non-beef, and non-meat eating categories of consumers, as well as the dietary restrictions that correspond to each category.

Questions about the case or the settlement should be addressed to Sherrie Savett, Esq. (ssavett@bm.net) or Michael Fantini, Esq. (mfantini@bm.net).

The following documents are available for review:

Lead Attorneys

Sherrie Savett Headshot

Sherrie R. Savett

Chairwoman of the Firm & Managing Shareholder
Michael Fantini Headshot

Michael T. Fantini

Shareholder

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