SF Judge Dismisses McDonald's Lawsuit to Ban Happy Meals

By Robyn Hagan Cain on April 05, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

McDonald's has won another battle in health-conscious San Francisco. A San Francisco Superior Court judge dismissed a McDonald's lawsuit over Happy Meal toys on Wednesday.

Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit claimed that McDonald's uses Happy Meal toys to attract children to the restaurants, and sued to stop the fast-food giant from handing out toys, reports Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

The plaintiffs brought claims under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the California Unfair Competition Law. Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer dismissed the suit with prejudice this week, and barred the plaintiffs from amending the complaint.

San Francisco has offered considerable resistance to McDonald's Happy Meals over the last two years. In 2010, San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar introduced the Healthy Food Incentive Ordinance, a proposal to ban restaurants from offering toys with meals unless the meals met specific dietary guidelines, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. While the ordinance would apply to all restaurants, Mar was clearly challenging the Happy Meal.

The Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance, but McDonald's quickly found a way to side-step it. Instead of giving away free toys with Happy Meals or altering the contents of the food, McDonald's started charging customers who wanted the toys an extra 10 cents. The company sweetened the deal by donating the nominal fee to its Ronald McDonald House charity, the Huffington Post reports.

Plaintiff Monet Parham filed her McDonald's lawsuit in January 2012.

Now that McDonald's has emerged unscathed from the Happy Meal challenge, do you think California parents and politicians will find a different legal tool to thwart a child's hunger for Happy Meals?

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