* California woman ends lawsuit; no money changes hands
* Chain's 'seasoned beef' said to be less than 50 pct beef
* Yum shares unchanged
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, April 19 The lawsuit over the content
of Taco Bell's "seasoned beef" has ground to a halt.
A California woman who sued to force Taco Bell Corp to stop
calling the filling for many of its tacos and burritos
"seasoned beef" because it had too little beef to be labeled as
such has voluntarily dismissed her lawsuit.
Taco Bell, a unit of Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N), said no money
had changed hands and that it was not changing its products,
ingredients or advertising.
Monday's dismissal came after Taco Bell launched what its
chief executive officer, Greg Creed, in an interview called a
$3 million to $4 million nationwide advertising campaign to
combat negative publicity from the January lawsuit.
The plaintiff, Amanda Obney, contended the beef taco
filling contained less than 50 percent beef and that Taco
Bell's own suppliers euphemistically called it "taco meat
But Taco Bell countered that the filling is actually 88
percent beef and 12 percent "signature recipe."
"We gave them the facts, which we could have given them
three months ago before this was filed, and when they saw the
facts they withdrew the lawsuit," Creed said in the interview.
"It's that simple."
Taco Bell dominates the market for Mexican fast food in the
United States, with a 52 percent share. Yum said in February
that the lawsuit had hurt sales in its 5,600 U.S. restaurants.
Dee Miles, a partner at Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin,
Portis & Miles PC in Montgomery, Alabama, representing Obney,
said his firm withdrew the lawsuit after Taco Bell made
"changes in marketing and product disclosure."
Miles declined further comment, his office said.
Taco Bell had in its ad campaign tried to make light of the
lawsuit, saying: "Thank you for suing us."
Yum is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and Taco Bell in
Shares of Yum were unchanged at $50.38 in afternoon
The lawsuit in Obney v. Taco Bell Corp, U.S. District
Court, Central District of California, No. 11-00101.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)