McDonald’s Asks Court to Dismiss Vanilla Cone Product Liability Lawsuit With Prejudice

McDonald’s Corporation asked the Northern District of California on Friday to dismiss the first amended complaint filed against it by Eugina Harris regarding the defendant’s vanilla cone’s advertising. McDonald’s argued that the plaintiff does not have standing, fails to state a claim, and that the claims should be dismissed. 

The plaintiff filed an amended complaint in the matter in April, one month after McDonald’s previous motion to dismiss had been granted by the court, with permission for the plaintiffs to amend their complaint. The recent complaint alleged, similarly to the initial complaint, that the defendant participated in false advertising because it does not let consumers know that its vanilla cone contains artificial flavors rather than actual vanilla. 

The amended complaint attempted to address issues leading to the dismissal including unsupported claims of misrepresentation and economic injury. McDonald’s alleged that the first amended complaint “does not cure any of the fatal defects of her original pleading.” 

McDonald’s said that Harris’ allegations that McDonald’s claimed to use quality ingredients on its website and in Securities and Exchange Commission filings did not show that placing the item on the menu labeled a “vanilla cone” would mislead the plaintiff.  The plaintiff reportedly still did not include allegations that she saw or relied on McDonald’s saying that it’s ice cream has quality ingredients when purchasing a vanilla cone. 

“Even if reasonable consumers were aware of these statements, Plaintiff alleges no facts suggesting they would conclude that ‘quality ingredients’ means ‘the Vanilla Cone is flavored exclusively or predominantly with vanilla beans.’ Regarding economic injury the (complaint) adds only one thing: a conclusory and speculative allegation that the price of the Product would drop if Plaintiff won an injunction. This is insufficient to plead economic injury,” the motion to dismiss claimed. 

McDonald’s further cited that similar complaints to those brought by the plaintiff have been dismissed in other courts. It asked the court to dismiss the plaintiffs allegations again, this time with prejudice. 

McDonald’s is represented by Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Harris is represented by Borison Firm LLC and Sheehan & Associates P.C. A hearing on the motion for dismissal will be held on June 24.