McDonald's Responds to Quarter Pounder Lawsuit

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 04, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In May, a couple of Florida McDonald's customers filed a class action lawsuit against the burger chain, claiming they (and possibly millions of others) were charged for cheese on their Quarter Pounders "which they do not want, order, or receive." Some thought the legal action was a joke, some saw it as a frivolous lawsuit, and others wondered if it was some sort of false flag operation aimed at tort reform.

But McDonald's was certainly taking the litigation seriously. It filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that allowing the lawsuit to proceed "would create utter chaos in the retail food industry." After some legal back-and-forth, the company has again asked the court to toss the case, claiming an amended lawsuit has the same "fundamental and fatal flaw that marred the original complaint -- a complete lack of standing."

"They Simply Don't Exist"

McDonald's has consistently claimed that it does not control the prices that its franchisees place on the Quarter Pounder, with or without cheese. So even if locations charge the same price for the burger regardless of cheese (and the company claims the plaintiffs could only name one that did), that's hardly their fault. The burger megacorp says the unhappy customers acknowledge as much, but still want the company to pay up:

Plaintiffs vaguely still insist that McDonald's Corporate controls the "policies regarding the pricing structure" of franchisee menu items through some unidentified set of "policies and directives" that Plaintiffs fail to name, cite to, quote from, or attach to their Amended Complaint. It is easy to explain why Plaintiffs are unable to better describe this mysterious set of "policies and directives" -- they simply don't exist.

A Failure to Allege

McDonald's also denies the Quarter Pounder costs the same without cheese as it does with. "In any case," the motion to dismiss claims, "Plaintiffs fail to allege that either of the individuals who filed this case actually bought a Quarter Pounder product at a store kiosk or through the McDonald's App and suffered the harm about which they complain."

Whatever the reason for the lawsuit, it's hard to see it continuing for much longer. Without some serious sympathy from the District Court, it appears that the great Quarter Pounder Without Cheese Debate of 2018, could be over.

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