Monday, June 3, 2013

DEARBORN: Two McDonald’s outlets stop serving halal chicken after lawsuit settlement

DEARBORN — In the wake of a lawsuit settlement, the only two McDonald’s restaurants in the country that served halal chicken have stopped serving halal McChicken sandwiches and Chicken McNuggets.

The outlets are at 13158 Ford Road and 14860 Michigan Ave. A sign on the door at the Michigan Avenue restaurant tells customers in English and Arabic that the halal chicken is no longer served there. The electronic sign at the Ford Road restaurant was advertising a “buy one, get one free” special on Filet-O-Fish sandwiches Friday morning.

“Halal” refers to meeting Islamic requirements for preparing food. God’s name must be invoked before an animal providing meat for consumption is slaughtered.

On April 17, the final details of a $700,000 class action lawsuit against the Ford Road outlet’s franchise owner, Finley’s Management Co., was approved by Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald.

Ahmed Ahmed of Dearborn Heights bought a McChicken sandwich at that McDonald’s on Sept. 2, 2011. It was advertised as halal, but apparently was not because the restaurant ran out of halal chicken.

He filed the lawsuit Nov. 23, 2011.

Under the agreement, Ahmed was to receive $20,000, Jaafar & Mahdi Law Group of Dearborn was to receive about $286,941, Health Unit on Davison Avenue Inc. in Detroit was to receive $274,000, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn was to receive about $115,559 and JPMorgan & Chase Co. was to receive about $3,500 for overseeing an escrow account. The money was to be distributed within a month of the settlement.

Kassem Dakhlallah of Jaafar & Mahdi, lead attorney for Ahmed in this case, said Friday he hadn’t talked to Ahmed about it yet.

“It’s disappointing, if anything,” Dakhlallah said. “Our hope was that it wouldn’t be the message a corporation like McDonald’s would take out of this.”

He added that he figured dropping the halal sandwiches might be a byproduct of the lawsuit, and it isn’t what he wanted.

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