A History of Fast Food Lawsuits in the US

Customers of fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Arby’s have filed class action lawsuits to pursue compensation for damages. Many have done this because of unsatisfactory meals, overcharging, false advertising, or strange incidents of negligence.

The history of fast food lawsuits began in the 1990s with the infamous McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit. From there, fast food customers realized they could pursue compensation for damages caused by negligence and poor food preparation from fast food companies.

If you feel a fast food company failed to provide you with the meal promised in marketing, you could file a fast food lawsuit to recover compensatory damages. The lawyers at The Russo Firm are helping fast food victims with numerous class action lawsuits and do the same for you.

Why Do Customers File Lawsuits With Fast Food Companies?

Fast food customers can file fast food class action lawsuits to hold companies accountable for failing to provide adequate service. Fast food companies owe it to customers to provide meals as promised. Failing to do so through negligence can leave them liable for damages.

The most common reason for fast food lawsuits is false advertising. Many fast food companies overstate the size and portions they provide. They do this in commercials and online advertising to charge more for their measly meals. Many recent lawsuits have been filed by customers fighting against fast food companies failing to provide adequate meal portions.

Fast food plaintiffs have also filed lawsuits based on injuries or illnesses incurred from dining at fast food establishments. There have also been fast food lawsuits based on weird occurrences, such as fingernails, hair, and human flesh found in meals.

The Infamous McDonald’s Hot Coffee Lawsuit of the 1990s

The fast food lawsuit that began the history of fast food litigation is the 1990s McDonald’s hot coffee case. In 1992, 79-year-old Stella Lieback ordered coffee with her grandson at a McDonald’s drive-thru. The coffee accidentally spilled on her lap, leading to third-degree burns.

The issue with the coffee was that it was far too hot for consumption, reaching up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Stella Lieback’s burn injury was so severe that she required significant medical treatment, including skin grafts, to survive.

McDonald’s had a history of over 700 incidents of burn injuries from their coffee up to that point. After failing to pay for Stella Lieback’s medical bills, she filed a lawsuit in 1994, eventually settling for $600,000. Despite this notorious case, McDonald’s has still had problems with burn injuries from hot coffee in 2023.

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How a Failed 2002 Class Action Lawsuit Changed Fast Food Litigation

In 2002, 56-year-old New York maintenance worker Caesar Barber filed a class action lawsuit against Wendy’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and McDonald’s. He alleged that these restaurants failed to warn consumers about the unhealthy ingredients in their meals adequately.

Mr. Barber ate at these restaurants at least four times a week and alleged that their failure to disclose information about their ingredients led to his obesity, diabetes diagnosis, and multiple heart attacks. The case was dismissed without prejudice in 2003 due to a lack of depth in Mr. Barber’s arguments.

Despite failing to secure compensation, Mr. Barber’s class action lawsuit was the first of many to make this type of claim. Many lawsuits have followed his lead to hold fast food companies accountable for failing to disclose information about harmful ingredients and targeting children.

The History of Burger King Lawsuits

Burger King has been involved in its fair share of lawsuits over the years. As mentioned above, they were sued for failing to disclose information about harmful ingredients that can lead to obesity. They’ve recently been accused of falsely marketing their Whopper menu item.

They have also been at the center of some strange litigation. Twenty years ago, a New York woman sued Burger King for a discrepancy in soda prices between two local locations. She sued the company because of this $0.20 difference but failed to earn compensation.

A New Mexico lawsuit was filed when Burger King employees put marijuana inside burgers. They served the laced burgers to police officers, who completed a field test to discover the marijuana. The police department filed a lawsuit with Burger King over the marijuana-laced hamburgers.

Where Do Fast Food Lawsuits Stand Now?

There continue to be fast food lawsuits, mostly regarding false advertising. As mentioned previously, Burger King has been accused of falsely advertising their Whopper burger. The class action lawsuit filing alleges that Burger King Whopper advertisements show a 35% increase in size and a 100% increase in beef from previous ads, but the Whopper itself is the same size.

A Taco Bell class action lawsuit has to do with the lack of meat and other ingredients included in its Mexican Pizza and Crunchwrap Supreme items. Customers have been unsatisfied with these items, as the real items contain less than half of what is promised in advertising.

There is also an Arby’s class action lawsuit regarding the quality and quantity of meat in their roast beef sandwiches. Customers have reported receiving half of the meat advertisements promise and meat that is well below the standard of quality set by marketing promises.

Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Fast Food Lawsuit

Anthony J. Russo Jr., a founding partner of The Russo Firm, represents many plaintiffs in fast food lawsuits. At The Russo Firm, we have significant experience regarding fast food litigation that can help you if you are unsatisfied with your fast food meal based on false advertising.

Hiring a lawyer is vital for a fast food lawsuit, as they can help you calculate damages, file the necessary paperwork, and collect evidence. The fast food lawyers at The Russo Firm can use their vast experience and resources to put you in a position to recover compensatory damages. Contact us for a free fast food case evaluation today at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page.

Article written or reviewed by:

Attorney Anthony Russo

Attorney Anthony Russo

Managing Partner and Lawyer at The Russo Firm

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