By Dan Levine and Lisa Baertlein
SAN FRANCISCO, April 4 A San Francisco judge on
Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit against McDonald's over the
restaurant chain's marketing of its signature Happy Meals,
according to court documents.
McDonald's was accused of unfairly using toys to
lure children into its restaurants. The proposed class-action
lawsuit in a California state court so ught to stop the company
from using free toys to promote its Happy Meals in the Golden
The Happy Meal has been a huge hit for McDonald's -- making
the company one of the world's largest toy distributors -- and
spawning me-too offerings at most other fast-food chains.
But it also has come under fire from public health officials,
parents and lawmakers who are frustrated with rising childhood
obesity rates and weak anti-obesity efforts from restaurant
operators, which are largely self-regulated.
Plaintiff Monet Parham, a mother of two, was represented by
the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition
advocacy group. CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said
CSPI would discuss the possibility of an appeal with Parham.
"In time, the practice of using toys to market junk food
will seem as inappropriate and anachronistic as lead paint,
child labor and asbestos," Jacobson said.
Court documents show that Judge Richard Kramer dismissed
Parham's claims on Wednesday, without giving her a chance to
file an amended lawsuit. The documents do not contain any
details of Kramer's legal analysis.
McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said the company was
pleased with Kramer's decision.
"We are proud of our Happy Meals and will vigorously defend
our brand, our reputation and our food," Proud said.
The case in Superior Court of California, County of San
Francisco is Monet Parham, on behalf of herself and those
similarly situated vs. McDonald's Corp. et al., 10-506178.