McD's to pay US gov't. $4M

By Philip Delves Broughton, CNN

June 28, 1999: 8:43 p.m. ET

Golden Arches and consumer safety group settle suit on playground injuries

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reached an agreement on a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against fast-food giant McDonald's.

Under the settlement, the restaurant chain has agreed to pay the government $4 million in damages for failing to inform CPSC of playground injuries at its restaurants.

The CPSC claimed McDonald's failed to report more than 400 injuries to children on playgrounds at restaurants nationwide -- including 20 who suffered concussions or skull fractures and 80 who suffered broken bones. Under federal law, companies are required to report incidents involving their products to the CPSC.

The injuries happened on the "Big Mac Climber," a metal platform resembling a hamburger that is no longer in any McDonald's playgrounds.

This isn't the first time McDonald's has come under the watchful eye of the CPSC. In October 1995 the CPSC and the Justice Department jointly announced an agreement with McDonald's in which the company would finance a $5 million safety campaign and report defects in playground equipment at its playgrounds.

The agreement came after children had been injured on the "Tug-N-Turn" merry-go-rounds installed at restaurants between 1982 and 1987. McDonald's claimed they did not need to report the injuries because they were not the manufacturer, distributor or retailer of the ride.

However, McDonald's agreed to remove the rides from its premises. And, although McDonald's denied it had any statutory reporting obligation to the CPSC, McDonald's agreed to the safety campaign and agreed to perform regular safety audits.

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