McDonald’s Muslim Suit: Judge Approves $700,000 Settlement Over False Advertising

McDonald’s has agreed to pay a $700,000 settlement to members of Michigan’s Muslim community after a Detroit restaurant falsely advertised its food as being prepared according to Islamic law.

The McDonald’s Muslim suit, which was first launched in September 2011, was brought by Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed. The class-action suit alleged that Ahmad puchased a chicken sandwich in 2011 at the restaurant only to find it wasn’t halal.

The suit technically covered any customer who had bought the halal-advertised products between September 2005 and January 2013 from the restaurant.

Islam forbids consumption of pork, and God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.

McDonald’s and one of its franchise owners agreed to a tentative settlement of $700,000 in January, and the deal has now received final approval.

The sum will be shared by Ahmed, legal representatives, a Muslim-run Detroit health clinic, and the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. Ahmed’s attorneys say their client’s portion of the settlement is considered an “incentive award” that represents his work on the case.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald, who has overseen the McDonald’s Muslim suit since the tentative settlement was agreed earlier this year, gave her final approval Wednesday. Macdonald said she was “proud to preside over” the case and eventual resolution.

In an email to The Associated Press, Kassem Dakhlallah, an attorney whose firm represents Ahmed and the class, wrote:

“As a firm, we’ve borne the burden of litigating this case for over 19 months, and have paid a steep price in time and money to do so. We are happy that we are able to finalize this case and get the settlement funds paid to the Huda Clinic to be used for medical care for the community, and to the Arab American National Museum to be used to allow our young ones to continue their educations after high school.”

McDonald's Muslim Suit 700,000 Settlement Over False Advertising Is Confirmed Chicken Burger

The McDonald’s Muslim suit began when Ahmed wrote to the McDonald’s restaurant franchisee, Finley’s Management, to reveal he knew the restaurant had sold non-halal food “on many occasions.” Ahmed said his information had been “confirmed [by] a source familiar with the [restaurant’s] inventory.”

Commenting on Ahmed’s decision to give part of the settlement to charity, Dakhlallah said this was the best outcome, as most people wouldn’t have kept their receipts. This would make “identifying class members who have valid claims nearly impossible.”