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A California judge has dismissed the Happy Meal lawsuit, bringing an end to this chapter in McDonald's legal history. The suit, which has been pending for over a year, accused the fast food chain of using toys to lure in children.
The practice, according to lead plaintiff Monet Parham, violates local consumer protection laws. Industry, she claims, cannot prey on the vulnerability of young children.
The judge's decision is no surprise -- the Happy Meal lawsuit has always been a long shot. As the chain argued in April, parents can just say "no." Additionally, consumer protection laws tend to only prohibit deceptive advertising. Everyone knows what McDonald's is doing when it offers Happy Meal toys.
Still, it's unclear just what exactly made the judge dismiss the suit. Court documents do not include any legal reasoning, according to Fox News, and only state that it was dismissed with prejudice.
This means that Parham cannot re-file at a later date.
It's very possible that the judge concluded that which is stated above. If he was unable to find any situation in which Parham's allegations violate state law, then he would have no choice but to dismiss the suit.
Parham and her legal team at the Center for Science in the Public Interest are now left to regroup. Though they can still appeal the judge's decision to dismiss the Happy Meal lawsuit, the chances of winning are slim. They may be better off in the long run if they refocus their energy on changing the actual law.