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Byron Allen’s $100M Lawsuit Against McDonald’s Dismissed

A judge dismissed Byron Allen's $100 million lawsuit against McDonald's over an alleged failure to spend more advertising dollars with Black-owned media outlets.

A judge has decided to dismiss Byron Allen’s $100 million lawsuit against McDonald’s over the food giant’s alleged failure to honor its promise to spend more advertising dollars with Black-owned media outlets.

Filed last May in Los Angeles Superior Court by Allen Media Group, the lawsuit accused the food giant of backing out on its commitment to allocate a larger portion of its yearly advertising budget to Black-owned media platforms. However, on Friday, February 2, a judge ruled that Allen’s legal documents had not demonstrated a probability of substantiating its claims in court, Variety reported.

Allen’s suit referenced a 2021 pledge McDonald’s made around the time of the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder outlining its plans to spend more money with Black-owned businesses.

At the time, McDonald’s said it would increase “the allocation of advertising dollars to diverse-owned media companies, production houses and content creators.”

It was a “four-year plan” that would ramp up advertising spend with Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific American, Women and LGBTQ-owned platforms.

“Spend with Black-owned properties, specifically, will increase from 2% to 5% of national advertising spend over this time period,” the pledge said.

However, Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana dismissed Allen’s claims regarding McDonald’s responsibilities and sided with the corporate giant saying McDonald’s cannot face legal action for a commitment made in a press release.

“The court finds Plaintiffs fail to establish by competent and admissible evidence that they have a probability of prevailing on the merits of their claim,” the ruling states.

“The court finds the evidence is insufficient to make a prima face showing that: (1) Defendant did not perform on a promise or made apromise with no intention of performing at the time it was made; (2) Defendant intended to induce Plaintiffs to enter into a transaction, specifically Plaintiffs’ proposals to Defendant; or (3) Plaintiffs reasonably relied on a promise.”

Allen Media Group intends to challenge the ruling through an appeal. The company also has an ongoing $10 billion lawsuit against McDonald’s in federal court, citing discriminatory advertising practices based on racial stereotyping and alleging violations of civil rights laws.

Allen’s team are moving forward with their next phase of the suit.

“We disagree with the decision. The California legislature enacted a law, Civil Code [Section] 1711, prohibiting companies from making false statements to the public,” Allen’s attorney Louis “Skip” Miller told Deadline.

“This lawsuit seeks to uphold that law. We’re going to appeal this decision. It in no way affects Allen Media’s lawsuit pending in federal court for racial discrimination in contracting for advertising. That lawsuit against McDonald’s is alive and well — and is headed for trial.”

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