Florida residents sue McDonald's for $5 million after they found cheese in their Quarter Pounder
For many people around the world, a sudden huge injection of cash would be an absolute dream come true. Bills, holidays and rent are all buzzing around your wallet, fighting over your hard earnings; all gone with a cool extra multimillion dollar sum. But how would you get there? Some people say that winning that cash via the lottery is the best way to go about becoming infinitely richer, but there's also the less travelled path of the fast food lawsuit.
If you can find a way to show that your favourite eatery has wronged you in a big way, then there could be a massive settlement on the way, but that's only if you can prove they wronged you in a big way. And as these Florida residents have shown, that's not always easy. In fact, you might end up looking stupid doing it.
So, when you head to McDonald's, you might not want your meal exactly as it's advertised on the menu. That's cool, it's 2018, have it your way! But when your specific order isn't made specifically to order, that's annoying... I guess. Enough to complain? Sure, go ahead. But maybe suing McDonald's for several million dollars is a little bit excessive.
The Miami Herald reports that two plaintiffs - Cynthia Kissner of Broward and Leonard Werner of Miami-Dade, Florida - complained that despite asking for their burger without cheese, they had been charged full price for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, which they pointed out was 30 cents cheaper on the McDonald's app if they ordered without cheese. As a result, they sued McDonald's for as much as five million dollars.
Unsurprisingly, their case was thrown out almost immediately. On Friday, U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas dismissed the case "with prejudice" - meaning they can't file another suit in the future - explaining that the plaintiffs in this case failed to "state a claim for their damages".
"A pleading must contain a ‘short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," explained Dimitrouleas, which in layman's terms meant that Kissner and Werner couldn't find a way to show that they'd been harmed (or even put at risk of harm) by having to pay 30 extra cents for a burger.
Dimitrouleas also said that "a Quarter Pounder with no cheese and cheese are separate and distinct products, both of which are offered for sale and can be purchased separately in McDonald’s restaurants," slamming the idea that cheese is a vital aspect of the Quarter Pounder, or that it's a separate and distinct menu item, as "absurd".
"Under any common sense analysis, there is no market for a customer to come into a McDonald’s restaurant and order a slice or two of ‘cheese’ as a product that is separate, distinct, and independent from any other product or menu item. Nor is there a separate product market for a customer to order a slice of tomato, or a slice of lettuce, or a slice of pickle, etc."
It turns out, it's actually very difficult to win a huge settlement with a fast food restaurant.