Taco Bell: Thank You For Suing Us
Now for something a little lighter.
The fast-food chain is placing full-page print ads in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and other papers as well as online ads to “set the record straight”. The print ads say, in huge letters, “Thank you for suing us. Here’s the truth about our seasoned beef.” They go on to outline the meat’s ingredients.
The class-action lawsuit was filed late last week in federal court in California. It claimed Taco Bell falsely advertised its products as “beef.” The suit alleges that the fast-food chain actually uses a meat mixture in its burritos and tacos that contains binders and extenders and does not meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled “beef.”
Taco Bell quickly denied the accusation. “The lawsuit is bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts,” Taco Bell President Greg Creed said in an interview with The Associated Press.
There appear to be significant problems with the case that even non-lawyer me can spot right away, such as this (emphasis added):
The lawsuit, filed by the Alabama law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, doesn’t specify what percentage of the mixture is meat. But the firm’s attorney Dee Miles said the firm had the product tested and found it contained less than 35 percent beef. The firm would not say who tested the meat or give any other specifics of the analysis.
That right there is a red flag to me. Why not reveal the testing lab? Maybe they got it tested at Al’s All-Night Meat Lab?
However, lawyers might want to keep everything they can as close to the vest as possible… a bigger problem is that the standard they’re using isn’t the right one (again, emphasis added):
The case, [attorney Marc] Williams said, is thin in potential legal liability. Lawyers would have to prove that most consumers expect and believe they are getting something other than what Taco Bell actually serves. Most fast-food customers, he said, realize taco meat has other ingredients besides beef. And the lawsuit cites U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines for labeling ground beef, which don’t apply to restaurants.
So, they’re suing restaurants based on laws that don’t apply to restaurants.
So why bring the suit?
The lawsuit doesn’t specify monetary damages but asks the court to order Taco Bell to stop marketing it under its current terms.
“That leads me to believe it’s more about generating publicity and legal fees for a lawyer than correcting a societal wrong,” Williams said.
There ya have it.