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McDonald’s had made a huge tactical error by asserting that everything in the leaflet was libelous — not only the more extreme claims
(“McDonald’s and Burger King are… using lethal poisons to destroy vast areas of Central American rainforest”), but also the more innocuous
ones (“a diet high in fat, sugar, animal products, and salt… is linked with cancers of the breast and bowel, and heart disease”). The blunder
allowed Steel and Morris to turn the tables, putting McDonald’s on trial and forcing a public examination of the chain’s labor, marketing,
environmental, nutrition, food safety, and animal welfare policies. Some of the chain’s top executives were forced to appear on the stand and
endure days of cross-examination by the pair of self-taught attorneys. The British media seized upon the David-and-Goliath aspects of the
story and made the trial front-page news.
After years of legal wrangling, the McLibel trial formally began in March of 1994. It ended more than three y...
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2014 for the course MGMT 120 taught by Professor Litt during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.
- Spring '08