A federal judge dismissed a $1 billion lawsuit against McDonald's by a group of Black franchisees who claimed the fast food giant pressured them into opening restaurants in crime-ridden and low-income neighborhoods.
Reuters reported Tuesday that the federal judge, based in Chicago, tossed the lawsuit last week, though he gave the plaintiffs until Oct. 21 to file an amended complaint and possibly appeal. The judge reportedly did not give a specific reason for dismissing the case.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2020 by a group of 52 Black former McDonald's franchise owners, who claimed the chain "set them up for failure" by steering them toward troubled neighborhoods, Reuters wrote. The lawsuit went on to claim that the fast food conglomerate specifically withheld profitable franchise opportunities from Black owners, and that the terms offered to them by McDonald's were not on par with white owners under the same conditions.
McDonald's has fully denied the lawsuit's allegations. In a statement sent to Reuters, the McDonald's Corporation claimed the case was tossed "because the plaintiffs had no facts to support their arguments."
"Discrimination has no place at McDonald's, and we remain steadfast in our dedication to taking action to attract and support franchisees who represent the diverse communities we serve," the statement added.
This is not the first time that McDonald's has faced a bias lawsuit. In December 2021, the restaurant chain paid $33.5 million to a Black owner accusing the company of discrimination.