A federal judge has allowed Byron Allen's $10 billion discrimination lawsuit against McDonald's to move forward, Bloomberg reports.
The motion to toss the suit was denied “for improperly referencing materials outside the pleadings,” U.S. District Court Judge Fernando M. Olguin wrote in his decision.
The judge’s ruling also stated that McDonald’s could either respond to Allen’s lawsuit or refile its motion no later than this Friday, Jan. 27.
The plaintiffs, Entertainment Studios and the Weather Group, which are owned by Allen, allege that McDonald’s “engages in patterns of racial stereotyping and regularly refuses to conduct business with Black-owned media companies in its advertising business.”
“We look forward to presenting our enormous evidence in court, which will prove the systemic racism at McDonald’s,” Allen said in a statement.
Allen also noted in the statement that the restaurant chain’s board of directors should terminate their CEO, Chris Kempczinski.
A harsh critic of McDonald’s, Allen called for Kempczinski’s firing in November after text conversations between him and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, which seemed to blame some parents for the violence in the city, came to light.
When the details of Kempczinski’s text messages became public knowledge, he apologized for his remarks.
McDonald’s responded to the ruling by calling it "procedural" and reaffirmed that they “continue to believe plaintiffs’ claims are meritless.”
Filed by Allen in May 2021, the original lawsuit claimed that of its “approximately $1.6 billion annual television advertising budget, McDonald’s spends less than approximately $5 million each year on African American-owned media, and it has refused to advertise on Entertainment Studios networks or The Weather Channel since Allen acquired the network in 2018.”
In November, Judge Olguin dismissed Allen’s suit saying that the plaintiffs didn’t provide sufficient evidence to prove their claims, but he allowed Entertainment Studios and the Weather Group to re-file.
McDonald's announced last year that they plan to double their investments with “minority-owned media companies, increasing the percentage of its national ad spend with such companies from 4% to 10% by 2024, with spending specifically directed toward Black-owned properties on track to rise from 2% to 5% over the same period.”