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McDonald’s Didn’t Treat ‘Unruly’ Patron Badly

(CN) - McDonald's did not violate a man's civil rights in a dispute over free cheeseburgers he claims to have been owed after a pervious lunch turned out to be all bun and no beef, a Chicago federal judge ruled.

Edward Hall Jr. contended that on Nov. 9, 2009, he went to McDonald's with his children and ordered some cheeseburgers.

But when they showed up, they lacked a key ingredient: meat patties.

According to Hall's second amended complaint, "his two boys became hysterical" because of "their inability to consume their cheeseburger lunch." The manager allegedly apologized and told Hall that his name would be placed on a complimentary meals list.

Two days later, Hall returned to redeem his free meal but the woman working at the drive-through window, Maria Guzman, told him he was not entitled to one. She allegedly said, "Sir, if you don't lower your voice I'm going to call the police."

Guzman gave Hall a complimentary meal, but multiple police cars pulled into the McDonald's parking lot as he was leaving.

Officer Olsauskas asked Hall for identification, essentially putting Hall in police custody by taking that ID, according to the complaint.

Hall says he was cited for disorderly conduct and that, because he is black, a judge refused to summarily dismiss the ticket when he appeared in court to challenge it.

Hall sued the city of Berwyn, individual police officers, McDonald's, Guzman and other McDonald's employees for false arrest, malicious prosecution and violations of his equal-protection rights.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Der-Yeghiayan threw out the equal-protection claims and dismissed Hall's state-law claims without prejudice.

"The second amended complaint is devoid of allegations that plausibly suggest an unequal treatment of Hall because of his race," Der-Yeghiayan wrote.

"Hall fails to provide any justification for acting in such an unruly manner and breaching the peace at a restaurant open to the public, regardless of whether, as he claims, he was being denied a complimentary cheeseburger," the eight-page decision continues.

Der-Yeghiayan said Hall alleged pure speculation in claiming that, "had been white, he would never have been stopped, threatened, and seized" by police officers. Hall did not provide any evidence "to plausibly suggest any conspiracy between defendants and the state court judicial system," the court added.

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