With repeated brawls in McDonald’s, it is would seem that it is pretty hard to be excluded from the restaurant chain. However, Erin Carr Jordan found a way. The mother of four and college professor with a doctorate in developmental psychology, has been leading an effort to get McDonald’s to clean its play area by testing equipment and reportedly finding dangerous levels of pathogens. It is not the first time McDonald’s has been accused of such dangerous levels — made more dangerous by being in proximity to food where the children digest the pathogens.
Jordan, 36, was formally served this week with a letter from a lawyer prohibiting her from setting foot in eight Valley McDonald’s and threatening her with criminal trespassing charges.
She insists that her ban followed her alleged finding antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in the restaurant’s PlayPlace. She complained to the manager and spoke to other parents about the find. She said that the finding of MRSA was so dangerous that she felt had to notify people.
She proceeded to file a complaint with Maricopa County Environmental Services about finding MRSA. However, Johnny Dilone, spokesman for the department, said that an inspector supported McDonald’s after finding no MRSA. Yet, the article below notes “the department does not swab play areas or test for pathogens.” What type of health inspector does not swab for MRSA? I am not sure how you find MRSA with the naked eye.
The letter is from Phoenix attorney James Stipe.
It could be worse for Jordan. The company could allege a disparagement or defamation tort. Such lawsuits are often filed to educate the public and drain defendants. It is a bit more difficult when that person is Oprah Winfrey who was sued by beef companies after saying on the her program that she would not eat beef due to mad cow disease. The Fifth Circuit in Texas Beef Group, et al v. Oprah Winfrey ruled that the claims of Texas cattlemen of disparagement were meritless.
Jordan teaches at the University of Phoenix, Mesa Community College and Kaplan University. Her crusade has covered six states and she has formed a non-profit corporation with a website called Kids Play Safe.
What is most interesting is that she claims that health officials insist that play areas are outside of local food-handling and restaurant cleanliness rules — even though they are connect physically to the restaurant and children move easily from the play area to the tables.
The problem is that there is little deterrent posed by litigation in such circumstances since it is very difficult to link an illness of a child or adult with exposure in the play area of a McDonald’s. There is the possibility of a mass tort for negligence but once again there is the problem in showing the elements, including the uniformity of the contamination. This means that the state health inspector represents the only serious deterrent since federal authority over a state restaurant is equally limited. If the state does not do swaps or other physical testing, it is hard to see how the restaurant faces any meaningful threat of disclosure. With the McBan on Jordan, that threat was just reduced further.
Source: AZ Central