IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE 1990-M-No.5724
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B E T W E E N :
McDONALD'S RESTAURANTS LTD. Plaintiffs
- and -
HELEN MARY WEBSTER
ANDREW JAMES CLARKE
JONATHAN FARRELL Defendants
D E F E N C E
1. It is admitted that the first Plaintiff owns the trademark 'McDonald's'
and through a number of subsidiaries operates a number of fast-food
restaurants under the said trade-mark and further franchises other fast-food
restaurants to operate under the said trade-mark. Save as aforesaid
paragraph 1 is not admitted.
2. The Defendants named Jonathan Farrell and Helen Mary Webster are not
known. Further paragraph 2 of the Statement of Claim is not admitted.
3. It is denied that the Defendants and each of them published or caused to
be published and/or were party to the distribution and publication of the
said leaflet entitled "What's wrong with McDonald's?" as alleged in
paragraph 3 of the Statement of Claim.
4. Further or in the alternative, it is not admitted that the said words
referred or were understood to refer to the Plaintiffs or either of them.
5. Further or in the alternative, it is denied that in their natural and
ordinary meaning the words complained of meant and were understood to mean
all or any of the meanings alleged in paragraph 4 of the Statement of Claim.
6. If, which is denied, the said words, in their natural and ordinary
meaning, meant or were understood to mean, all or any of the meanings
alleged in paragraph 4 of the Statement of Claim, it is denied that all of
these meanings are capable of being defamatory of the Plaintiffs in their
particular trading capacities.
7. Further or in the alternative, the said words are only a part of the
leaflet entitled "What's wrong with McDonald's?". The Defendants will refer
at the trial of this action to the whole of the said leaflet for its full
terms and the context of the words complained of.
8. Further or in the alternative, the words complained of in their natural
and ordinary meaning are true in substance and in fact. In so far as it may
be necessary, the Defendants will rely on Section 5 of the Defamation Act 1952.
Particulars of justification will be served separately.
9. Further or in the alternative, the words complained of are fair comment
on matters of public interest, namely the conduct and practices of the first
Plaintiff as a major corporation, operating and franchising restaurants
throughout the world, and the conduct and practices of the second Plaintiff
in managing fast-food restaurants in the United Kingdom. In so far as it
may be necessary the Defendants will rely on Section 6 of the Defamation Act
Particulars of fair comment will be served separately.
10. Paragraph 5 of the Statement of Claim is denied.
11. Paragraph 6 of the Statement of Claim is not admitted.
Served this 16th day of November 1990 by Messrs B.M. Birnberg & Co of 103
Borough High Street, London, SE1 1NN, Solicitors for the Defendants.
See also, this 8-part document which expands on the defence.