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This Week at McDonald's

(For details of the latest protests and opposition to McDonald's,
please see This Week's Campaigning)

2 March - 8 March 1996

McDonald's versus McDonald's

This week saw the start of a unique legal battle in the Supreme Court of Jamaica. The suit was brought by McDonald's Corporation, the US Hamburger chain, against McDonald's Corporation Ltd., the Jamaican company which owns the restaurant at the corner of Half Way Tree Road and Cargill Avenue in the capital Kingston.

Justice Chester Orr is hearing applications from both companies for injunctions against each other. The American McDonald's is seeking an injunction to prevent the Jamaican company from continuing to operate a restaurant under the name "McDonald's" and the Jamaican company is seeking an injunction to prevent the American company from opening any restaurants in the Corporate Area.

The American company is being represented by R. N.A. Henriques, Q.C., Allan Wood and Ann Marie Feanny of Livingtson, Alexander & Levy, and the Jamaican company is being represented by B. St. Michael Hylton, Q.C., Peter Goldson, Debbie Fraser and Roderick Gordon of Myers, Fletcher & Gordon.

Justice Orr has already had to make one ruling in the case. In one of his Affidavits, Mr. Vincent Chang, Managing Director of the Jamaican McDonald's, said that various employees and officers of the US company had admitted in court proceedings in England that a number of their customers had suffered food poisoning after eating their hamburgers, that the US company did not cook their hamburgers at the proper temperature and other damaging admissions. He said that the source of this information was the Internet.

The US McDonald's attorneys asked Justice Orr to strike out that paragraph on the grounds that it was irrelevant and inadmissible. Mr Allan Wood argued that the Internet was not a reliable or recognized source of information, and the information found there should not be admissible in evidence. Mr Hylton argued, on the other hand, that as long as one named the original source of the information, it was irrelevant who or what the intermediate source (in this case the Internet) was. He argued that the information was very relevant because the American company had made claims in the case that their food was of better standard than the Jamaican company. Justice Orr ruled in favour of the Jamaican company and ordered that the evidence was admissible and should not be struck out.

Legal practitioners say that this is the first local ruling in relation to information found on the Internet.

He is continuing to hear submissions in the case which both sides are agreed will last more than one week. Over 20 Affidavits have been filed, a total of over 900 pages.

Last Week at McDonald's

  • 24 February - 1 March

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