A contentious year-and-a-half-long battle for McDonald's seems to be over for now. On April 4, a San Francisco judge tossed a lawsuit against the chain for marketing its Happy Meals to children.
According to Reuters, Judge Richard Kramer dismissed the plaintiff's claims without a chance to file an amended lawsuit. The documents do not contain any details of Kramer's legal analysis.
Plaintiff Monet Parham, a mother of two, was represented by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The lawsuit was first filed in December 2010.
CSPI has long claimed that using toys to lure small children into McDonald's is unfair and deceptive marketing, and is illegal under various state consumer protection laws. The advocacy group, as well as other public health officials, parents and lawmakers, believe this practice contributes to rising childhood obesity rates.
CSPI's executive director Michael Jacobson said the possibility of filing an appeal would be discussed.
"In time, the practice of using toys to market junk food will seem as inappropriate and anachronistic as lead paint, child labor and asbestos," Jacobson said.
McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said, "We are proud of our Happy Meals and will vigorously defend our brand, our reputation and our food."
Since the lawsuit was filed, McDonald's has introduced a new version of the Happy Meal, complete with apple slices and a smaller portion of french fries. The changes cut the item's calorie count by 20 percent.
The new Happy Meals continue to carry toys.
Read more about health and nutrition.