Wednesday, February 27, 2013


McDonald’s, Dearborn franchisee settle non-halal chicken lawsuit for $700K

DEARBORN — Three Dearborn attorneys settled a $700,000.00 consumer class action lawsuit this week against two defendants, McDonald’s Corporation and Finley’s Management Company, the franchisee of McDonalds store number 11663 located at 13158 Ford Rd. in Dearborn. Michael Jaafar, Zakaria Mahdi and Kassem Dakhlallah, three partners of the Dearborn firm Jaafar & Mahdi Law Group, P.C., represented the plaintiff class in the case. The named plaintiff was Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed. The case involved allegations regarding the selling and advertising of halal McChicken® and halal McNuggets® products that were non-halal, violating state consumer protection laws.

According to the settlement made public last Friday at the Wayne County Circuit Court, on September 2nd, 2011, Ahmed purchased a McChicken® sandwich from the Finley's operated McDonald's location, which advertised the sandwich to its customers as halal, but in this particular incident, the sandwich was not halal. Ahmed and the attorneys have not disclosed how he discovered the sandwich he purchased and ate was not halal. In the lawsuit, he alleged that on many occasions, Finley's Management had sold non-halal McChicken® and McNuggets® while presenting the items as halal to their customers. Both defendants continue to deny these allegations, but settled to pay 700K nonetheless.

Jaafar, Mahdi and Dakhlallah represented Ahmed, along with the class "of all individuals who are past, current and future customers of McDonald's Corp. and McDonald's no. 11663," according to the lawsuit. Ahmed sought damages for emotional distress allegedly sustained upon learning that he had consumed food that was not halal.

Finley’s Management Company operates McDonalds store number 11663 located at 13158 Ford Rd.

The settlement of the case also released Dearborn McDonald's no. 4870, located at 14860 Michigan Ave, from any and all liability relating to the advertisement and sales of their halal products. That location is not operated by Finley's Management and was not a defendant in the lawsuit. Its franchisee denies any and all liability concerning the offering or sale of false halal food items. Under the terms of the settlement, the Ford Rd. and Michigan Ave. locations, as well as McDonald’s Corporation, are released from liability stemming from any sales of non-halal food advertised as halal from September 1, 2005 to the present date. It is not clear how these sales occurred during that time frame. This agreement was reached in cooperation with McDonald's corp., Finley's Management and the plaintiffs.

As part of the settlement between all parties involved, proceeds that amount to $700,000 will be divided and dispensed to the HUDA clinic located in Detroit, the Arab American National Museum (AANM) located in Dearborn, and plaintiff Ahmed, which includes attorney fees and investigations related to the case. According to Dakhlallah, this agreement was made after all the parties involved did extensive research over which organizations would best utilize the funds for the benefit of the plaintiff class – which included not only Muslims, but any individuals who purchased non-halal McChicken® and McNuggets® products from the Ford Rd. and Michigan Ave. locations during the time frame.

"It was a settlement between the plaintiffs and the defendants. In this particular type of case, because it is difficult to determine who the class members are, we have to be able to provide a benefit to the entire class," Dakhlallah stated.

Numerous charities and organizations in the area were investigated by all parties involved, and ultimately they came to the agreement that both the HUDA clinic and the AANM were best suited for benefiting the community at large.

Above: (L-R) Zakaria Mahdi, Michael Jaafar and Kassem Dakhlallah, partners at Jaafar & Mahdi Law Group, P.C. in Dearborn.

The HUDA Clinic, located on 13240 Woodrow Wilson Street is a medical clinic that provides free services for people who have no insurance or are unable to afford to see a physician. Its services include outpatient health assessments, blood pressure screenings, cholesterol and diabetes monitoring, and social work services. Dakhlallah says a donation of $274,000 will be made to the clinic from the settlement, and the money is expected to improve the facility and its services.

"As far as Islamic charities go, HUDA is one of the best. It's a free medical clinic for people who need it, whether they are Muslim or not. They will get money to complete the build out of their building. They will add eight additional patient rooms, pave the parking lots, add a sign and expand their days of operation from three days a week to four," Dakhlallah stated.

An estimated $150,000 from the settlement will be allocated to the AANM. The museum is expected to use the money for educational purposes. They plan on giving free admission towards school children and mosques, as well as engaging the community in scholarships and city wide essay contests. Dakhlallah says this lawsuit and the outcome of the settlement is a benchmark for the Muslim community in Michigan.

"This case is obviously important to the Dearborn and metro Detroit community. My partners and I are members of the Dearborn Muslim community and on a personal level it's been important to us. We have all been customers of this store for years and it's an important issue from a consumer protection perspective. When a business falsely advertises a product and takes a customer's money, then it's a consumer protection issue," Dakhlallah stated.

Calls were not returned from Finley's Management or the law firm representing them, Chicago firm Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, however McDonald's Corp. did issue a statement to The Arab American News.

"McDonald's has always been committed to serve communities and remain relevant to our valued customers, and the restaurants in Dearborn, Michigan are no exception. All parties involved concluded that the best resolution of this matter was to provide support to organizations that also serve and benefit the local community," McDonald's stated. "As part of the agreement, donations in the name of Mr. Finley's organization will be donated to two worthy causes. The first is to contribute to the development of a medical and dental clinic that will offer additional health care options and increase the resources available at the Health Unit on Davison Avenue, Inc. (HUDA); Second, funds will be dedicated to expand educational programs at the Arab American National Museum. Both of these organizations were selected because of their service to the community."

Some details regarding the case are still being questioned. McDonald's Corp. would not disclose whether Finley's Management was penalized by the corporation or if certain changes will be made at the two halal McDonald's in Dearborn in regards to how they will advertise their halal products from this point forward.

As part of the settlement, steps to alert the community about the lawsuit will also be taken. Notices will be provided at 17 mosques as far north as Flint, as far south as Toledo, and as far west as Ann Arbor in both English and Arabic. One mosque in Hamtramck will receive notices in Bengali. Additionally, the court has ruled that a two page notice will need to be published in The Arab American News for three consecutive weeks (it can be viewed this week on pages 4 and 5) in hopes that the message will be widespread. Those looking to get more details regarding the settlement can read a posted copy at


Muhammad Raghib Khan
A Slave of ALLAH SWT.

Please dua for me and for whole Muslim ummah to keep themselves away from such a Satanic foods.

1 comment:

Aida Carmine said...

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