Pelman v McDonald’s Corporation: 1993

(United States District Court, S.D. New York,) Customers sued McDonald’s for the excess sale of fatty fast food products to children.
Held: The action was dismissed. the defendants owed no duty to warn consumers of the products’ well-known attributes, setting out the causes of action alleged by the plaintiffs, two of which were expressed in these terms: ‘Count III sounds in negligence, alleging that McDonalds acted at least negligently in selling food products that are high in cholesterol, fat, salt and sugar when studies show that such foods cause obesity and detrimental health effects. Count IV alleges that McDonalds failed to warn the consumers of McDonalds’ products of the ingredients, quantity, qualities and levels of cholesterol, fat, salt and sugar content and other ingredients in those products, and that a diet high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol could lead to obesity and health problems.’ As to count III, at ‘It is well-known that fast food in general, and McDonalds’ products in particular, contain high levels of cholesterol, fat, salt and sugar, and that such attributes are bad for one. . . If a person knows or should know that eating copious orders of super- sized McDonalds’ products is unhealthy and may result in weight gain (and its concomitant problems) because of the high levels of cholesterol, fat, salt and sugar, it is not the place of the law to protect them from their own excesses. Nobody is forced to eat at McDonalds. As long as a consumer exercises free choice with appropriate knowledge, liability for negligence will not attach to a manufacturer. […] Plaintiffs have failed to allege in the Complaint that their decisions to eat at McDonalds several times a week were anything but a choice freely made and which now may not be pinned on McDonalds.’


District Judge Sweet


237 F.Supp.2d 512 (S.D.N.Y.2003).


United States

Cited by:

CitedMcTear v Imperial Tobacco Ltd OHCS 31-May-2005
The pursuer sought damages after her husband’s death from lung cancer. She said that the defenders were negligent in having continued to sell him cigarettes knowing that they would cause this.
Held: The action failed. The plaintiff had not . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

International, Negligence, Consumer

Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.226711