Woman sues McDonald's over Happy Meals
December 15th, 2010
02:04 PM ET

Woman sues McDonald's over Happy Meals

A California woman is suing McDonald's claiming the fast-food giant uses toys to market directly to young children. Monet Parham, a Sacramento, California, mother of two small children filed the lawsuit Wednesday in San Francisco along with health, nutrition and food safety advocates Center for Science in the Public Interest . CSPI is seeking court approval to proceed as a class action.

Parham, a 41-year old state employee, says her kids repeatedly ask for Happy Meals, mainly for the toys. "We have to say no to our kids so many times and McDonald's makes that so much harder to do. I object to the fact that McDonald's is getting into my kids' heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat."

Michael Jacobson, CSPI's executive director accused McDonald's of "one of the most insidious marketing practices–dangling a toy in front of a small child." Jacobson called the practice "unfair, deceptive and illegal' in California and many other states. "The food industry has a responsibility not to intrude into families by using sleazy marketing techniques getting kids to pester their parents."

Jacobson compared the tactics to tobacco companies marketing to kids with things like Joe Camel. "In this instance, McDonald's is worse. They are going straight at little kids. The company is using unfair techniques to persuade the kids to persuade the parents to go to McDonald's. Tobacco companies don't go after 3 year-olds. Neither does Coca Cola or Pepsi."

In 2006, fast food companies spent over $520 million on advertising and toys to market kids meals. More than $350 million of that was for toys alone. Last month, The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that requires happy meals and other fast food offerings with toys meet new nutritional standards or be removed from menus. It goes into effect next December.

McDonald's says it is proud of its Happy Meals and will vigorously defend the company's brand, its reputation and its food. "We stand on our 30-year track record of providing a fun experience for kids and families at McDonald's," said Bridget Coffing, a company spokesperson. "We listen to our customers, and parents consistently tell us they approve of our Happy Meals. We are confident that parents understand and appreciate that Happy Meals are a fun treat, with quality, right-sized food choices for their children that can fit into a balanced diet."

This is not the first time CSPI has challenged fast food companies in court. In 2006 the organization went after Kellogg for marketing cereals loaded with sugar to children. In that case CSPI and Kellogg reached a settlement. CSPI also sued Kentucky Fried Chicken for frying its chicken in partially hydrogenated oil, which is high in trans fat. When KFC phased out the oil, CSPI dropped the lawsuit.

soundoff (2,110 Responses)
  1. Sean

    Better call up Toys 'R' Us and let them know they shouln't be marketing to my kids – I'll never hear the end of the constant asking if we can go to Toys 'R' Us.....and I'll have to buy them everything they want from the store. Get a life lady!

    December 16, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ms Moose

    There is a very easy way around this as i have done for my son numerous times....don't buy the happy meal, just stop and buy the toy, they only charge $2.00 and that way they don't have to eat the food and you save money becuase it is cheaper than buying a meal.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Carmen

    I think this artlcle is written to provoke exactly the response that it has. "Be a parent... just tell your kids no." That isn't the issue, though, and CSPI, at least, isn't filing this suit just to get some windfall settlement. Yes, parents can tell their kids no. I do, frequently. The problem is that McDonald's, especially, has developed a business model around selling substances (in this case, fat and sugar) that have known addictve qualities and aggressively markets those substances to children. Even parents who consistently say no to fast food have some cause to complain, because the messages McDonald's uses to entice children are so prevalent and persuasive, it almost inevitably increases discord in the family home and undermines lessons the parents try to teach about health and nutrition. McDonald's will fight this suit with as much vigor as the tobacco industry protected its ability to market its products to children, because they know that a sizeable chunk of their adult consumers were hooked when they were kids.

    Yes, parents have a tremendous responsibility to set limits and enforce them when it comes to what their kids eat, watch, and play. They can't disclaim that responsibility by pointing the finger at big, bad corporations, and many parents do not own up to those responsibilities. But parents don't operate in a vacuum. We need the support of society at large to reinforce the lessons that we try to instill and the limits we set. The only other option is to isolate our children from that society, which comes with its own negative consequences. McDonald's statement says a lot, that Happy Meals "can be a part of a balanced diet," meaning, I suppose, that parents who let their kids eat a Happy Meal should "balance" that with extraordinarily healthy food the rest of the time. Like selling a kid candy-coated poison and blaming the parents for not administering the antidote. Yes, parents are to blame for not administering the antidote, but the poison-pusher is still liable for the product he sells and how he markets it.

    Also, I've seen mention of the woman who sued McD's over hot coffee. Please educate yourself before you use that as an example of a frivolous lawsuit. Another example of political and profit-motivated spin. http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

    December 16, 2010 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • qbtb

      Interesting, you must also be from California...

      December 16, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Can I see your source that proves fat is addicting (I have yet to find one that doesn't implicate sugar)?
      Also, I don't really appreciate the CSPI meddling in my nutrition. The SAME CSPI who attacked McD's for frying their potatoes in lard (a very stable fat) and forced them into switching to a trans fat. Then, upon learning about the deadly nature of trans fats, attacked McD's for their use of trans fats!! They now use unstable vegetable oils for frying, which I find to be the most unhealthy thing about McDonald's meals (aside from HFCS in the soda and desserts, but I don't drink/eat those).
      I also find your argument against McDonald's "aggressive marketing" to lead to a very dangerous slippery slope. If I let the gov't legislate what/how McD's markets, what about alcohol (taxing my liver), electronics (making me sedentary) or eggs (GASP the cholesterol might kill me!!!)? We live in a (supposedly) capitalist system, where companies should be free to sell and market the products that consumers want to buy. This is a matter of personal responsibility. We cannot attack a company for inconveniencing us through marketing (companies exist to make a profit, this is basic capitalism).
      Furthermore, who gets to decide what is healthy and what is not? What is addictive and what is not? I will fight tooth and nail asserting that fat is NOT addicting, but the gov't and its health resources would likely say otherwise. I would assert that saturated fat does not harm me or anyone else, but the gov't would likely remove it from store shelves if they were given the authority. This is a dangerous game to play.

      December 16, 2010 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Williams

      Carmen... you're part of the problem. I read the words you wrote but can only smell the odor of feces. Grow a pair, and take some personal responsibility. We are SICK of this politically correct GIBBERISH!!!

      December 16, 2010 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • Carmen

      No, I'm not from California. I'm from Arkansas.

      Studies show that high-calorie, fatty foods stimulate the same pleasure centers in the brain as heroin and cocaine, and that they are similarly addictive. Here is the first hit that came up on google: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100329/Addiction-to-high-calorie-fat-rich-food-likened-to-cocaine-and-heroin-addiction.aspx

      There is also a distinct difference between marketing an addictivre and harmful product to adults, and marketing that same product to children. I will defend to my dying breath your right to purchase fast food, tobacco, cocaine, or heroin, and for merchants to sell those products so long as they aren't deceptive or threatening in how they get you to buy. Children are different. They are cognitively incapable of making informed, rational decisions about even their immediate health and safety, let along long-term.

      As a parent, I can forbid my children from consuming harmful things, as long as they are under my supervision. Many parents do exert that kind of perfect control, but they are the minority. McDonald's knows that whining kids have tremendous influence over their parents, and they have done everything in their power to make sure the kids are whining for what they're selling. The real problem, though, is that what they're selling is an insidious poison that creates addition and will devestate the health of those kids through adulthood to their dying day. Taking money damages off the table, are you really saying McDonald's should be allowed to continue that practice?

      December 16, 2010 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • Harland Simmons

      Your response was welcome, and a refreshing reminder that intelligence is rare. This shouting match shows how the story has been misinterpreted by the vast majority of responders to have been about parental control, when in fact it is about something very different. I hope to see the end of the "happy meal" very soon. As we all know, as soon as McDonald's feels the pressure from responsible groups, it will disappear, possibly accompanied by some self serving PR claiming McDonald's did so due to their concern over the welfare of children.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • Seriously

      If this is truly what you believe, why stop at McDonald's. Why not support a bill that would put more controls around what all fast food (and other restaurants) sell to our kids. Wait, why stop there? Why not include all of the candy manufacturers, sugared cereal makers, etc, etc. If you really feel like sugar and fat are the problems, maybe we should just start at the source – the people who sell sugar and corn syrup.

      Wait, maybe it's just the marketing that's the problem. Why not legislate marketing of all of said products to children? Or maybe we should work on educating our children about better nutrition. If you don't think it's happening in homes than maybe it should happen in schools. I've got no beef with schools helping me reinforce the lessons I try to teach at home. Maybe this lady (and you) could focus more energy on fixing the problem rather than issuing random lawsuits.

      If you really think it's a problem you shouldn't sue one company – you should try to write legislation to fix the overall problem. A lawsuit is about making money a law is about solving a problem. Don't try to pretend that there is anything more to this lawsuit than there really is.

      December 18, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
  4. isac0014

    Apparently this stupid mother cannot say no to her kids. My son asks for McDonalds and I simply say no and that's that. If she has no control over her kids, then what sort of mother is she? Maybe I should sue her for exposing my kids to bad parenting.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mmafan78

    This is such bs, what are you going to do next, sue Toys R Us for their commercials cause u have to tell your kids "no"? What a pos this lady is, worthless b#%* is prolly on welfare.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Brian2

    OMG !! I think to be fair to the parents, Mcdonald's should start promoting parental education such as:
    Learn how to say no to your kiids, Caution, hot coffee, If your kid is putting on the pounds find out where he's spending his allowance and if you don't like Haapy Meals then order a salad. Be Smart, Think Smart, Be Healthy, Be HAPPY ! 🙂

    December 16, 2010 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Brandon

    So should we sue ChuckECheese too for tricking those poor kids into eating pizza by luring them in with playgrounds and arcade games?
    Or should we sue cereal makers when they put a toy inside the box?

    December 16, 2010 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carmen

      The marketing tactic is slightly different there. Chuck-E-Cheese is selling the games, and the pizza is a lure to draw families in. It is also clearly marketed as a special event or occasional treat, not as a fast alternative to an ordinary Tuesday night meal. There is also the question of the pervasiveness of the marketing, the addictive qualities of the product, and whether the chain is exploiting the vulnerability of children in order to ensure a profitable adult consumer base. (as tobacco companies did and McDonald's does).

      The same analysis applies to kids' cereal. But yes, if the purpose of the toy is to get kids and parents to choose a less healthy (and more addictive) alternative over the healthier choises, then the company should be held accountable for those unscrupulous practices.

      We need to demand that corporations that hold such overwhelming buying power over the messages we and our children receive use that power responsibly. Some states, local governments, and even PBS have established standards for marketing to children or about child-centered products. On PBS, for example, advertisers cannot show pictures of their products in their sponsor ads. The message has to be directed at the grown-ups, so all of the description of what a great product they sell is in written and spoken words.

      December 16, 2010 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • Carmen

      98% of the comments in this thread prove exactly why this lawsuit is valid. Each of you are probably relatively intelligent, rational people. No one has forced you to write knee-jerk reactionary vitriol about this woman and her ability to parent. However the likelihood that you would do so was exponentially increased by the slanted way the information about this lawsuit was presented.

      Way to uphold the great tradition of objective reporting, CNN. Do tell, was this piece written by a fast food PR agent, or are you simply getting kickbacks?

      December 16, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
  8. Gina

    I didn't know 5 year olds have their own money to pay for a happy meal... much less a drivers license to get them there!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Boss

    As a child my mother took me to McDonald's all the time. I developed poor eating habits and now that I'm older I don't blame McDonald's, I put the fault on my mother. She didn't eat all the crap that she bought me. She didn't gain weight. She just didn't say no when I wanted it and she took advantage of the fast service instead of using a few extra minutes at home to make me more healthy meals. So sure, go ahead an sue them but at the end of the day when your children are overweight and unhappy they're not going to be upset that McDonald's had toys, they're going to be upset at you for not being a responsible parent.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pierre

      NO! McDonald is not responsible for people eating at their place. People are responsbilte for choosing poor food over good one.. Not McDonald or anyone else

      December 16, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
  10. A mom

    OMGosh! Does common sense not exist any more??? Learn to say no, and make choices for your kids until they are of an age where they can make them responsibly. Teach your children how to make good choices, and why it's not good to have particular things, or too much of a particular thing. If you don't like what you see on the tv, turn it off or change the channel. And no one is dragging people to McDonalds!!! If you don't want them to eat Happy Meals, don't go there!!! Start being the parent!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. qbtb

    So why doesn't she turn off the TV and occupy her little darlings with something else?

    December 16, 2010 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Beepo

    They come from a place of fire and brimstone to make everyone suffer..........

    December 16, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. HR

    Get a grip lady and take responsibility for your own parenting!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Patty

    These people are ridiculous! Are they going to sue all other fast food venues also? I hope the judge who gets this case throws it out!!! This woman just want sher fifteen minutes of fame (which she is now getting), and money from a huge corporation. There will be no end to this if it's not thrown out now. If you have a "beef" with these fast food places, it's simplte – you just don't go there to eat! How stupid can some people be. I'm fat and shouldn't eat the fast-food, but it's not their fault I'm fat. Where's the common sense in all of this!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. art144

    This is great. It will set prescendent for the suits I plan to file against Disneyworld, Nintendo, Nickolodeon and Toys R Us!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Assertive Mom of 2

    What's wrong with just saying "no" to your children? It's McDonald's fault that she doesn't have a backbone? I guess Toys R Us should be banned because my kids are asking for toys this Christmas. I think this mother needs to be sued for not teaching her children responsibilities and accountability.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JasonGMBJ

      how old are your children? 2 and 4? Just wait until they're 18 and 20. One will become pregnant before college, the other a pedophile.............

      December 16, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  17. Larry Lupus

    Another moron too stupid to parent

    December 16, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Nicole

    Why is anyone eating a McDonald's anyway? It's the same reason why people still smoke knowing the risks involved. I say let McDonald's continue to kill off earth dwellers together hoof, fin and foot. Survival of the fittest is making a comeback.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. brkfastwithbande

    A big thanks to McDonalds *for providing the oppurtunity* to say NO to our children. This way they might learn a valuable lesson and be prepared for life in the real world. This woman is looking to cash out and nothing else.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Jeff Williams

    THIS IS RIDICULOUS! Exercise your right of choice, woman! Don't buy happy meals. Don't buy the toys. Don't watch television and for God's sake... JUST SAY NO TO YOUR BRATTY, WHINY KIDS! People like you are DESTROYING our nation. I am sick and tired of this nanny state, weak human being BS! Someone wake me up when we get back to America. Sheesh!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Elaine

    Not only do I say no to my children, I also teach them what advertising as all about. It is designed to make you want a product. That is the whole goal. Now I have a ten year old who will watch an ad and say, "but that might not be true. They just say that to make you want to buy it". Parenting begins with knowing how to say no to your child, but it involves so much more – training them to THINK. This is what this lady is missing – the ability to think.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carmen

      I agree with you, and I do the same thing with my kids. If we teach our children critical thinking, we innoculate them against marketing like this, as well as a host of other dangers (peer pressure, bullies, drug pushers). But does that mean the bullies and drug pushers shouldn't also be held accountable, just because the parents didn't do a good enough job teaching their kids how to resist? Or even if the parents do a good job, shouldn't the bullies and drug pushers be held liable for even trying to use their tactics? I nkow in my house, if one of my kids pressures the others into breaking the rules, the one who does the deed gets punished, but so might the one doing the pressuring, depending on how it was done.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
  22. chris

    So when do the kids sue the parents for not saying no when they asked for a happy meal.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ashley

      That's just hillarious but true. Hey mom, I am fat because you bought me twinkies and let me have icecream everynight after dinner. You also bought us a 12 pack of cola and let us have it in our lunches. Oh, wait, you also MADE us play outside, and got us into sports and other activities. Now I am an adult and have some extra weight, it'snot my fault because I choose to eat crap. It's yours because you taught me how. BAHHHH..

      December 16, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
  23. Lola

    I'm suing all the diaper companies becasue they have made clean, dry diapers so nice that my seven month old wants to be changed all the time and it's costing me money and quality time outside the nursery.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. ZeroFalls

    What she should really be worried about is the amount of feces that is in EVERY beef patty sold by ALL fast food chains.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Wow

    This is pretty ridiculous. I don't ever get on these threads to post anything, but this just prompted me to do so. How many years...no how many decades has McDonalds offered toys in their happy meals? Why start this now? This is not a NEW "insidious marketing practice", but a practice that has been around for quite some time. My kids want to go to McDonalds all the time, too. But I, like ANY good parent, knows how to say NO. I have never once thought or considered suing the company. In the same vein, video game companies market to children. How many times have you heard that video games are the root cause of everything that is wrong with our children? Toys are marketed to children. Toys keep kids sitting down inside instead of getting them active. TV Shows market to children, which in turn makes our kids fat and lazy. Are we going to sue ALL these companies? Every toy company? Every movie and television studio? Every video game developer? Please someone tell me when this insanity is going to END?! When are these parents going to wake up and realize, "Hey. It's my job to raise my kids. Not the government. It's my job to say no to them when I don't want them to do something. It's time for me to step up and control what my kids watch and play with if I don't agree with it." WAKE UP PEOPLE! I am just so sick and tired of these people BLAMING others for their shortcomings. "I'm fat, so it must be McDonald's fault." "My kids never want to eat anywhere else, it must be McDonald's fault." "My kid has become violent, it must be video games/music/TV/movies fault." Step up and take some responsibility for your actions. OUR JOB AS PARENTS is to raise our kids to have good healthy habits and values. Granted some things in life don't make this easy....but can ANYONE tell me when life was EVER easy. When raising kids was EVER easy. Sorry for my soapbox, but this is getting out of hand. These courts need to start turning away these frivolous law suits and tell these people to get a life. Thanks for listening.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mom of 4

    Ridiculous. If this mom can't control her kids, then her problem is much bigger than toys in McDonald's Happy Meals. Of course it is a marketing strategy. That is what advertising is all about – DUH. Should Budweiser stop doing SuperBowl commercials? They are marketing to men so they will drink more beer, which could lead to drunkenness which could lead to DUI which could lead to someone getting hurt or killed in a car accident. Or maybe Famous Footwear should stop marketing stiletto heels to women because they could fall and hurt their ankles. If a company wants to make money, it advertises to those who will buy the products. As wise consumers and adults, it is up to us to limit what our kids have regarding junk food. If this mom can't control her own kids, then she needs counseling, not a lawsuit.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. boot

    another stupid lawsuit...can someone tell this woman that you can acutally obtain the toy without buying the Happy Meal??
    wow, I better get my lawyer up to speed so I can launch some suits!! I think Call-of-Duty is making my son want to by a MAC-10....hmmmmm oh yeah, the XBOX has a power button...

    December 16, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. mttrailboss

    Have you tasted McDonalds low end hamburgers.., they taste like cardboard with sawdust. If their low end hamburgers get any smaller, you won't be able to find them on the tray or bag. The french fries in a box are bigger than their low end hamburgers. What a joke ! Is there a Burger King around ? At least with their hamburgers, there is some taste and larger, for the same price as McDonalds. The lady is right, when she said, the toys are a gimmick to get your children to ask for the happy meals. What happend to size, nutrition and cost of the meal, instead of more profit for McDonalds. Parents.., it time to protest or not go to McDonalds and pick healthy alternatives for your children, instead of boosting McDonalds profits. Mike in Montana

    December 16, 2010 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Nick in Milwaukee

    To the parent with the lawsuit, try the following book
    The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies: it quietly yet directly points out that limitations are necessary, and helps develop boundaries – can make it easier to set the boundaries with a non-threatening kids book if you're having trouble doing so by yourself

    December 16, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Darlene

    Go to the 99c store buy the kids a similar made in china crappy toy and stay away from McDonald's.
    WHY do you take your kids to McD's if you really love them?
    Do you let them play in traffic because it looks like fun?

    December 16, 2010 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Irene

    She could have purchased the toy if she wanted to. She made the choice to buy the happy meal. No one forced her to do it. The lawsuit should be thrown out of court.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Anita Nail

    Oh wow!! her comment we have to say no to our kids so many times, and that mcdonald's makes that so much harder to do ! are you kidding me??? ...make sure you don't forget about the grocery stores who put the candy in the checkout lanes, or the grocery stores who put toys in the cereal isle! or the cereal companie's who put toys in the cereal boxes ! this is a joke.....it's called putting your foot down and saying no...your the parent..why would anyone sue mcdonald's..your the one making the bad choice for your child...not mcdonald's...if i order a kid's meal for my son, i would like to say thank you to mcdonald's for putting the toy in the bag for my child, it keeps him busy and entertained on the road!....and another thing it's called avoiding mcdonald's if you cant deal with your kid whinning!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Naja

    @Star: well said!

    One question: how do her children even KNOW about the Happy Meal toys??? Has she allowed them to (gasp) actually eat a Happy Meal before??? What kind of monster is she? Or has she ever allowed them to watch television? Should we ban Toys 'r' Us commercials because she might just have to say "NO!" when her children ask for things? Where would it actually end? Why does no one want to take personal responsibility? McDonald's isn't forcing people to eat their product at gunpoint, right?

    @MD I understand you're viewpoint and I even respect what you're saying. I'm just saying that, again, NO ONE IS FORCED TO EAT THERE! My mother definitely knew how to say NO...

    December 16, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Steven Eaves

    Wow this lady should be charged and fined for wasting Mcdonalds time and putting them through this. Anytime someone brings a lawsuit against someone they should be fined if they lose the case. Make people think twice before they bring outrageous claims like this to court, what a hack.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Robert

    Just another case of a parent wanting the goverment to do what she is supposed to be doing!! If responsible parents want to treat their child to a Happy Meal, that right should not be taking away because there are some parents that dont want to put in the (hard) work!! Most fast food places already offer healthy choices with their kids meals ie apple slices,fruit etc. America is supposed to be about freedom and choice! If I want to choose McDonalds for my kids then that is my right!

    December 16, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Bosco

    Monet Parham should be investigated by child services as a unfit mother cause if she is too stupid to just not allow her kids McDonalds or too explain it is not good for them or too simply limit anytime they get McDonalds she is a unfit uncontrolable Mother and needs to be investigated by child services nobody can make you take your kids to a resteraunt. What next sue toy companies cause the kids nag about getting a certain toy?

    December 16, 2010 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Raising Rocco

    This is a ridiculous and frivolous lawsuit and I hope it is thrown out of court. It's a complete waste of time and money. I am intelligent and responsible enough to make safe, reasonable decisions for my family. I have a four-year-old son. He has never been exposed to commercial television because I made the choice to shield him from advertising targeted at small children who are very susceptible to brainwashing and believe that they "need" the toys and food being advertised. My son knows about McDonald's, and I am happy to take him there occasionally to play in their great indoor play area and get a fun toy with a box. I don't mind paying $2.89 for an hour or two of exercise and a new little toy. I do NOT, however, give him McDonald's food. I bring him healthy, natural, organic, and minimally processed foods and put food brought from home in the Happy Meal box. I am not tricking him, by any means. I am educating him about nutrition and he understands that he is at an important stage of growth and development and needs healthier food than McDonald's provides. He won't even take a bite of their food. I am the parent, and it is my responsibility to raise him responsibly, not blame fast food restaurants, toy manufacturers, or advertisers for making my job more difficult. Good Grief!!!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Queen Lattice

      Yes you are tricking him! – and it's a great trick! Kudos to you! Putting your own healthy food in a happy meal box. Whodduh thunk it??

      December 16, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  38. WVLady63

    Sounds like the lady is in need of some Christmas Money! Hopefully, she will be denied! Her suit is trivial and transparent. No wonder the court system is over burdened. Its cases like this that create log jams and prevents real cases from being heard. Her fifteen minutes are up, tell her go home.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. jess

    Does this woman have a stove in her house? She should sue the manufacturer of the stove since, if she doesn't tell her children no, it will burn their hands. This woman represents the problem in this country. If people weren't so sue happy, then there would not be the insurance problems that are directly associated with lawsuits. Someone should have told this woman no, and maybe she could tell her kids too.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Brian

    Parents have lost the ability to say no to their kids, and not just with food. It's simple mom and dad..."no you cannot have a happy meal, forget about the cheap toy that it comes with". Now, practice saying that in from of a mirror until you are ready to say it to your kids. Much cheaper than a lawsuit.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Brian

    If you want the government to raise your kids, turn full control over to them.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Ross

    Really?? Tell your kids "no". Are they eating the meal after you buy it lady? If not, then maybe you should reconsider going to McDonald's to begin with. If so, then you took them there to eat. The only way your kids know, if you don't go to McDonald's is by advertising that they see. So maybe you should monitor their tv time instead of using the boob tube to babysit your kids.

    I so hate complainers that need to take responsibility for their own actions. I really want to know, what are you going to buy your kids at McDonald's other than a cheeseburger, hamburger, or nuggets? Especially at that price? You aren't really suggesting that you would buy some other meal off the menu, are you? Lady, here is the shocker; the marketing isn't getting into your kids heads, they don't drive the car and they don't buy the food. You are the one that is falling for the marketing or you are the one who is being an irresponsible parent.

    This lawsuit should be immediately thrown out.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Chad

    Up next for Ms. Parham, lawsuits against cereal makers for using cartoon characters and brights colors on their packaging. It's called marketing Ms. Parham, get used to it. It's been around for decades, and will remain regardless of what you do. As a side note, I have 3 kids, all under the age of 12. Here's what you do when the ask for McDonald's, say no and tell them why if you want. When they ask again, say no again, and so on. Might take a bunch of times, heaven forbid you put in the effort to lay down some rules, but your kids will stop asking! Mine rarely, if ever ask for McDonald's anymore. They know 99 times out of 100 the answer will be no, but most importantly I taught them alternatives and better choices.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Denizen Kate

    This sorry excuse for a parent probably lives in San Francisco, where the city has actually approved an ordinance to prohibit Happy Meals in the McDonald's restaurants within the city limits. As a resident of the Bay Area, I've been laughing about this for some time now. As someone who managed to raise a child on her own, I can say from experience that it is quite easy to say no to a child once or even twice on a particular "gimme" request and make it a final NO. Many of the posters on this thread have said the same. It's called "parenting" and why don't we require a license for that? You need a license to drive a car, don't you? Some people should not be allowed to reproduce.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Grace Simmons

    And their plans for the future are even more insidious.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Queen Lattice

    What a maroon!!!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. OnePlatypus

    Hmmm...Tickle me Elmo, Cabage Patch Kids, Beanie Babies, or maybe Toyota Pruis or IPhones...:)

    Just a few things I can name that bash us with marketing that make us think we 'need' something...Personally I vote FOR toys with happy meals...A. it makes it easier to get kids to eat something. B. it keeps kids from quite while they eat. C. giving kids Legos seems like an sweet and educational deal...

    Or maybe this lady and those supporting her should 1)learn to tell their kid as my mother taught me and 2) enroll your kid in Soccer and not buy them video games...last I checked excercise was a recommended why to stay heathy.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jim W

    There's NOTHING wrong with McDonald's.I eat there OCCASIONALLY. The problem is that people FAIL to put any of it in proper perspective. Yes your kids will have potential weight issues if you eat at McDonald's or any other restaurant ALL THE FREAKING TIME. But if you go there as an occasional food event, the kids may look forward to it but they won't need to go there. Yes cooking good nutritious food is a good idea. But occasionally you will want eat "crap" and that's OK so long as it's kept in proper perspective, IE occasional "treats' rather than ALL THE TIME FARE occasional decadent deserts rather than FACE DOWN IN A CHEESECAKE EVERY FRICKING NIGHT. Occasional soda drinking rather than having a constant drip of caffeinated non nutritious syrupy water enhanced with Co2 and phosphoric acid (to rot your teeth even more). The key is learning how to say and mean NO or even NOT RIGHT NOW, LATER PERHAPS.. End of rant ( for now)

    December 16, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim W

      I meant to say, "But occasionally you will want to eat "crap"". Sorry about the error..

      December 16, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
  49. Will

    This woman is an oxygen thief. I want to sue her for breathing air that could be used for good people that actually take responsibility for their actions. She is a terrible parent if she can't discipline her kids.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. kenny f.

    I'm surprised nobody has called the attention another easy solution...turn off commercial TV, or at least limit exposure.

    Or move to China, where the gov't actually does limit and control what goes out over the airwaves....along with all sorts of other limitations of personal freedoms.

    CSPI is a joke. They fought (and succeeded) to have saturated fats taken out of FF restaurants and replaced them with Trans Fats. Now they're suing to have trans-fats taken out. Buncha dopes.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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