McDonald’s halal lawsuit rescheduled

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — A hearing over a McDonald’s franchisee who allegedly sold haram, or non-ritually fit, foods in 2011 was rescheduled to March 11, according to a Wayne County Circuit Court official.

A Dearborn McDonald’s restaurant and its management company, Finley’s Management Co., agreed to pay nearly $700,000 to Dearborn Heights resident Ahmed Ahmed and community organizations after Ahmed accused the franchisee of serving him food advertised as halal, ritually fit, according to Islamic law, when it was not, according to case reports.

Ahmed sued McDonald’s, 13158 Ford Road, and the management company in 2011 after eating a chicken sandwich and later discovering his dish was not halal.

The McDonald’s franchisee management declined to comment on the issue.

McDonald’s Corp. attorney Thomas G. McNeill did not return calls by press time.

Finley’s Management Co. agreed Jan. 18 to the tentative settlement.

Ahmed’s Dearborn-based attorney Kassem Dakhlallah did not return calls by press time.

The preliminary settlement was expected to be finalized by March 1, but was rescheduled to March 6.

Ahmed approached Daklallah in 2011 and they conducted an investigation, according to published reports. After they allegedly confirmed that the restaurant had sold non-halal food on numerous occasions, Dakhlallah’s firm sent a letter to McDonald’s Corp. and Finley’s Management Co.

After they received no response to the letter, Dakhlallah and Ahmed filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court in November 2011 as part of a class action lawsuit, according to the published report.

According to the published report, no evidence of problems on the production side were found, but McDonald’s on Ford Road allegedly sold non-halal products when it ran out of halal meats.

The settlement money will be split between Ahmed, the Health Unit on Davison Avenue and the Arab American National Museum to assist members of the community who may have eaten the food.

The final hearing will determine how the money is divided, but about $20,000 is expected to go to Ahmed, $275,000 to the HUDA clinic in Detroit, about $150,000 to the museum and roughly $230,000 to attorneys.

AANM Communications Director Kim Silarski said museum officials did not know they were the receipient of a portion of the settlement money and have not “gotten any word about any payments.”

Last month presiding Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Macdonald ordered Dearborn-based attorney Majed Moughni, who was not originally a part of the case but disagreed with the $700,000 settlement, to remove any case-related information from his Facebook page, Dearborn Area Community Members.

Moughni, who reportedly has eaten at the McDonald’s Ford Road location and abides by the laws of halal, was upset over the ruling and said community members affected should receive the settlement money and not community organizations.

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