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Williams v. Burger King Corp.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

July 20, 2020, Decided; July 20, 2020, Entered on Docket

CASE NO. 19-24755-SINGHAL

Opinion

ORDER

THIS CAUSE is before the Court on the Defendant's Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Burger King Corporation's Motions to (1) Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); and (2) Deny Class Certification Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(c)(1)(A) and (d)(1)(D) ("Request for Judicial Notice") (DE [20]) and the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint and Deny Class Certification ("Motion to Dismiss") (DE [25]). This Court heard oral argument from counsel on June 30, 2020. Having considered the motion, the record, and being otherwise fully advised [*2]  in the premises, this Order follows.

I. BACKGROUND

In the First Amended Complaint ("Complaint") (DE [24]), Plaintiffs Phillip Williams, William Jones, Michael Roberts, Ali Bey, Christopher McGee, Tiffany Cuthrell, and Marie Venter (collectively "Plaintiffs") assert Defendant Burger King Corporation ("BKC") "duped" them. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege they were misled into believing the "Impossible" plant-based patty in Burger King's "Impossible Whopper" sandwich, supplied by Impossible Foods, Inc., would be flame broiled on a different grill than the one used to cook beef and chicken. Plaintiffs have since dropped the claim that BKC marketed the "Impossible Burger" as vegan.

Plaintiffs allege in their Complaint (DE [24]) BKC operates myriad fast food restaurants across the country and is best known for its "Whopper" burgers made with beef. (Compl. (DE [24]), ¶ 24). In April 2019, knowing that there is a growing consumer demand for vegan, vegetarian, and meat-free food options, BKC decided to tap in by creating its "Impossible Whopper," with a burger patty made from "Impossible" meats. Id. at ¶¶ 5, 25. Plaintiffs bring suit against BKC alleging (1) breach of contract (Count I); (2) violation [*3]  of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act ("FDUTPA") (Count II); (3) violation of New York's Deceptive Acts or Practices (Count III); (4) violation of New York's False Advertising Act (Count IV); (5) violation of California's False Advertising Law ("FAL") (Count V); (6) violation of the "Unlawful Prong" of the California Unfair Competition Law ("UCL") (Count VI); (7) violation of the "Fraudulent Prong" of the California Unfair Competition Law ("UCL") (Count VII); (8) violation of Michigan's Consumer Protection Act ("MCPA") (Count VIII); (9) violation of Georgia's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count IX); and (10) unjust enrichment (Count X).

In the instant motion, BKC argues Plaintiffs do not dispute the "Impossible Burger" is 100% plant-based and Plaintiffs claims cannot meet the "reasonableness" requirement. BKC insists its advertising campaign never promised the "Impossible Burger" would be cooked on a separate surface, and Plaintiffs could not have had an objectively reasonable belief that it would unless specifically requested by a patron when placing an order. Plaintiffs admit they did not ask about the cooking method nor did they request an alternate method [*4]  of preparation to satisfy their unique dietary requirements.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158249 *

PHILLIP WILLIAMS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. BURGER KING CORPORATION, Defendant.

CORE TERMS

consumer, Burger, unfair, advertising, deceptive, Certification, mislead, enrichment, deceive, unjust, commerce, Prong