Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This just in from the courts

Chipotle’s design draws fire…
Chipotle may have to reconsider its standard design after the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court’s ruling that customers in wheelchairs can’t be denied the experience of seeing their meals prepared.

Customers who walk through the serving line interact with the prep staffers on the other side of a glass partition, specifying what they want in their burrito and watching as the elements are added. The experience was cited in court actions as an essential part of the Chipotle experience.

But a barrier by the serving line prevents wheelchair-bound patrons from being able to see their meals being assembled.
In 2005, a California resident in a wheelchair sued Chipotle, asserting that he was the victim of discrimination because of his disability.

Chipotle had countered that the plaintiff, Maurizio Antoninetti, had sued a number of businesses because of alleged inaccessibility. Antoninetti is described in an online bio as a teaching associate at San Diego State University and a former “accessibility consultant,” with a degree in architecture.

The chain had also argued that it accommodated patrons who couldn’t walk the line. Staffers would in effect bring the assembly process to them, holding spoonfuls of ingredients and assembling the burrito so they could watch.

The lower court had decided that the remedy wasn’t fair to Antoninetti. The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, letting that ruling stand.

Chipotle has yet to issue any public statement about how it intends to respond to the action.

…while McD’s argues parents are the bosses
Meanwhile, McDonald’s is arguing that a lawsuit challenging its use of toys as kids-meal giveaways should be dismissed because the plaintiff acknowledges she wasn’t conned by the offer.

Monet Parham, a California mother of two, has admitted she knew exactly what was offered in the Happy Meals her children desired, and often refused their pleas to buy the bundled meals. McDonald’s asserted in court that the advertising was straightforward, and that a purchase wasn’t based on any misleading information from the chain.

Parham is represented in the suit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

An attorney for the plaintiff countered that McDonald’s was making Parham the victim because she couldn’t always counter the brainwashing that McDonald’s does with its advertising.

McDonald’s was still awaiting a reaction from the federal court as of this writing.

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