These cases move fast (not as fast as the food but you know what we mean). Last week, a false advertising case against Wendy’s and McDonalds was dismissed after the Court. To cut to the beef of the order, the burger chains advertisements were found to not be misleading.
Not familiar with this one? Let’s dig in.
In 2022, Wendy’s and McDonalds were sued for “false and misleading advertising concerning the size of the beef patty and/or the amount of ingredients or toppings contained in said menu item.” And:
The complaint asserted claims for violation of state consumer protection laws, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment and was jam packed (we live for these food puns) with pictures, screenshots, and tweets like this:
This lawsuit may look a bit familiar to you. The reason why is it’s just a slice of the false advertising litigation pie (see e.g. Burger King and Taco Bell). In fact, the Burger King case made news a few months ago for having their motion to dismiss denied by the court.
That’s not what happened here. The Court, reviewing the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, dismissed the complaint for four reasons:
- Plaintiff did not adequately alleged that he was injured by Defendants’ advertisements, since he does not allege that he ever saw them;
- Plaintiff failed to allege that the advertisements were materially misleading;
- Plaintiff failed to allege the material terms of his purported contracts with Defendants;
- Plaintiff failed to allege that Defendants engaged in any unfair practices, and, even if he had, it would be duplicative of his claims under the General Business Law.
Will this dismissal mark an end to the food false advertising cases? Doubt it (especially with the others still lingering). People are hungry to take these companies on.