Taco Bell told Alabama television station WSFA-TV that "Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value. We're happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree. We deny our advertising is misleading in any way and we intend to vigorously defend the suit."
Several Taco Bell menu items offer customers the choice of chicken, beef or carne asada steak. The lawsuit claimed that "the 'chicken' and 'carne asada steak' served by Taco Bell is, in fact, chicken and carne asada steak. The 'seasoned beef,' however, is not beef."
Williams concluded that "most class-action lawsuits filed in this country are manufactured by lawyers who recruit plaintiffs," referencing the fact that the plaintiffs made no financial claims for compensation. He said that often in class actions, lawyers spot the potential for a claim against a company and then go out and actively recruit plaintiffs, all in the pursuit of generating fees for the lawyers.
"Anytime class actions have no [monetary] claims except for fees and costs I get suspicious," Williams said, and "Alabama has been a hot bed for this sort of litigation for years."
Yum! shares fell 4% to close at $47.59 on Thursday, and were 1.9% lower at $46.68 on Friday.
Yum!'s Taco Bell unit operates, manages or franchises at least 5,600 restaurants in the U.S.
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
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