A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing McDonald's Corp of racist discrimination for driving underperforming franchise owners to black stores.
In a decision on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber said the plaintiffs did not show that McDonald's executives or managers treated non-Black owners differently or when this could have happened to black customers.
The Court does not mean to suggest that McDonald’s operations over the years have not been tainted by the brushes of racism, but historical discrimination did not justify the lawsuit, wrote the Chicago-based judge.
James and Darrell Byrd, brothers with four McDonald's restaurants in Tennessee, accuse the company of directing Black franchisees to economic undesirable inner-city locations with low security and insurance costs and under-average sales.
They also told the Chicago-based fast-food chain denied white owners the same opportunities for growth and financial assistance that it had previously offered black owners.
Byrd said the Leinenweber could re-file their complaint, but dismissed their steering claims for good because the statute of limitations had run out.
Jim Ferraro, the Byrds' lawyer, announced that they will amend their complaint on Wednesday.
He also said McDonald's has lowered the rents for many Black stores since the suit was filed in October.
On Wednesday, McDonald's did not respond immediately to requests for comment. It has been agreed to treat Black owners differently than others and has denied its commitment to diversity and inclusion on repeats.
Ferraro has pending litigation in Chicago on behalf of Black former franchisees. The two lawsuits sought damages that could reach $4 billion together.
The case is Byrd et al v McDonald's USA LLC et al, Northern District of Illinois District Court, U.S. District No. This video is from 06447.