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McDonald's to Pay $700K in Dearborn Halal Meat Lawsuit

A local franchise of the company was sued in 2011 for allegedly falsely claiming to sell halal meats to consumers.

McDonald's and a local franchisee have agreed to pay a $700,000 settlement after a Dearborn Heights man sued the company over a Dearborn branch that allegedly served meats they falsely claimed were halal.

According to the Huffington Post, Ahmed Ahmed filed the lawsuit in 2011 against the McDonald's location at Ford Road and Oakman Boulevard after consuming a chicken sandwich there. He later found out that though the restaurant advertised the chicken as adhering to Islamic dietary guidelines known as halal, it actually wasn't.

Both this and the McDonald's on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn advertise selling halal products. They are the only two halal McDonald's restaurants in the United States. No other locations were named in the lawsuit.

Ahmed's attorney, Kassem Dakhlallah, told the Associated Press that the settlement will likely be split close to the following estimations: $275,000 to the Huda Clinic, $150,000 to the Arab American National Museum, $230,000 to attorneys and $20,000 to Ahmed.

AANM spokeswoman Kim Silarski tells Patch that the museum was not aware until just recently that they would receive any part of the settlement.

"We’re happy for any funding that furthers our mission to educate and eradicate stereotypes, and when/if it comes, this money will go toward educational and outreach efforts," she said.

In a strange twist, the fast food giant was in hot water in 2010 after it was revealed that many restaurants in the UK were serving halal chicken, unbeknownst to their customers.

AreTee January 23, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Marooned, certainly you will agree that even attorneys shouldn't be expected to work for free or at a loss. I'm sure the attorneys who took the case also have assistants, pay electric bills, pay for paper and otherwise foot the bill for the expensive process of running a law firm. In addition, in a class action lawsuit, the named plaintiff rarely nets much more than the individual members of the class do. Sometimes, as in this instance, the named plaintiff will be awarded an incentive payment to compensate him for his time in helping out with the case. In this case, since the alleged conduct was that the defendants sold products to potential class members over a period of time stretching back to 2005, the odds that anyone out there would have a receipt proving they purchased a McChicken sandwich on a certain date is very slim. So, in this type of circumstance, a common way that cases are settled is to have the money go to charities that benefit the unknown class members. In other words, it's better for the unknown class members to have a charity that works for them get hundreds of thousands of dollars, than to have the few people who would be able to identify themselves get a few pennies each in reimbursement.
Sara January 24, 2013 at 04:53 AM
I think since the density of Dearborn is mainly Muslims. All Dearborn has been effected. I'm positive that many Muslims in Dearborn are very disappointed because they too experienced the same issues. So with that in mind, I suggest that the money should be donated back to the city of Dearborn to help better our city. Our city has been affected greatly by the economic downfall. People losing their jobs, businesses closing, people in the streets asking for money, crime coming into the city from Detroit and with the lack of police patrol, city clean up, and construction crews. Dearborn is slowly turning into Detroit. As a Dearborn citizen I am concern about the condition of my neighborhood and the safety of my family.
marooned in Dbn January 24, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Are Tee, Thank you for the concise breakdown of the payment scheme for class action suits, and the mechanics that govern them. However, I was not aware that this action was a class action lawsuit, and I didn't read in the article above that there was any indication that it, in fact was. I will submit my own version of what the breakdown of the booty should have been. Out of a total of 675,000 $$$$$$$$$$, to be generous, all listed parties should have received 168,750 $$$$$. An equal split. After all, it was Mr. Ahmed who received the most harm by being religiously defiled by the offending product...not the other corporate entities.
Johnson January 25, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Marooned, I think the only issue with that is that the named plaintiff served as representative of everyone else. I think this case is kind of unique because even if by some miracle someone saved a receipt for a sandwich, I think I read somewhere that the store sold non-halal only a small percentage of the time. So it would be impossible for any one person to prove that they actually ate a non-halal sandwich. In other words, 99 percent of the time, the sandwiches were actually halal as advertised. So the large sum of money going to the charities is supposed to in theory provide a benefit to everyone who could have been unlucky enough over the past few years to be that 1 percent of people who thought they were eating halal, but unknowingy were eating non-halal.
John January 26, 2013 at 03:57 PM
I think it's this kind of situation that is going to drive america into the ground.if you don't like it don't eat there.

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