Earlier this week, a Florida judge determined that portions of a class-action suit regarding false advertising by Burger King will move forward.
Originally filed in 2020 by Florida attorney Anthony Russo, the suit represented plaintiffs from Florida, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, California, Connecticut, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Arizona. Burger King moved to dismiss the charges, but parts of the motion were granted, while others were denied in part.
The suit’s primary allegation is that Burger King, through its advertisements and in-store ordering boards, “materially overstates” the size of (and the amount of beef contained in) many of its burgers and sandwiches. The plaintiffs claim that Burger King used to “more fairly advertise the size of the Whopper on its website and store menus," and that “although the size of the Whopper and the beef patty increased materially in Burger King’s advertisements, the amount of beef or ingredients contained in the actual Whopper that customers receive did not increase.”
U.S. District Judge Roy Altman agreed to dismiss the claims that Burger King's television and online advertisements misled customers, as well as accusations the company violated consumer protection laws. The judge did decide that other components of the lawsuit -- including allegations of negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract and unjust enrichment -- could move forward.
He supported the ruling by stating that the court was not in the position to determine if the difference between products received and advertised were "enough to alter the purchasing preferences of reasonable American consumers." He went on to say that it would be better “to leave that determination to the consumers themselves, who − if the case survives that far − will get to sit in the jury box and tell us what reasonable people think on the subject."