The defending company, McDonald's Corporation Limited ("the Jamaican company") was formed in 1971. Sincew then a small restaurant called McDonald's which sells traditional Jamaican dishes in addition to fast food has been operating in Kingston. In 1994 McDonald's announced they intended to open restaurants in Jamaica for the first time. In September 1995 McDonald's opened their first restaurant in Montego Bay. A month later they served a Statement of Claim on the Jamaican company seeking an injunction to prevent them operating under its current name. The Jamaican companyhas responded by seeking an injunction preventing McDonald's opening any restaurants in Kingston under the name McDonald's.
In the proceedings McDonald's ahve made claims that their food is of a better standard than the Jamaican company's and that they have an excellent international reputation. This is where the Internet has come to the aid of the Jamaican company. Lawyers for the Jamaican company were able to bring tot the attention of the Jamaican court the fact that among other things evidence had been given in court in the McLibel trial that some customers of the American company had suffered food poisoning after eating hamburgers, and that the American company did not cook its hamburgers at the proper temperature. The lawyers had obtained this information from the Internet. In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court of Jamaica held that information accessed via the Internet was admissable in the proceedings.
As with the McLibel trial, McDonald's can now expect a lengthy legal battle in Jamaica. The trial is likely to take place in 1997 or 1998.
The lawyers representing the Jamaican company are Myers, Fletcher and Gordon. The firm (which is the largest firm in Jamaica and the Commonwealth Caribbean) is making full advantage of its Internet links and London office to monitor the McLibel trial. Myers, Fletcher and Gordon is the only Caribbean law firm with an office in London. The office was opened in September 1995 to serve the needs of the West Indian community in the United Kingdom. The decision for the firm to establish itself in ondon was the result of the increasing desire of businesses in Jamaica to access the UK and European markets and of persons in the UK to invest in the West Indies.
For more information about the proceedings and / or Myers, Fletcher and Gordon please contact:
Michael Toohig at Myers, Fletcher and Gordon
Telephone 0171 - 610 - 4433
Fax 0171 - 610 - 4455