Comments on McDonald's settlement banned

Feb. 13, 2013 at 4:02 PM
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DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A judge ordered a Michigan lawyer to delete from his Facebook page all references to a settlement reached with a McDonald's restaurant over its halal entrees.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald issued the order Thursday to Majed Moughni of Dearborn after attorneys involved in last month's tentative settlement said he was spreading false and misleading statements about the case, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

A McDonald's restaurant in Dearborn reached the $700,000 class-action settlement with attorneys of Muslim customers who had claimed the restaurant sold McChicken sandwiches and McNuggets as being halal when the meals were not.

Halal is the Islamic equivalent of Jewish kosher.

The settlement would divide the money between two Arab-American organizations and a man who was the lead plaintiff.

On his Facebook page, Moughni called the settlement a backroom deal.

His Facebook page was a popular source of news for the Dearborn Muslim community, drawing about 20,000 views a week.

The judge banned Moughni from discussing the settlement with anyone potentially affected by it and ordered him to replace his posts with copies of the settlement.

He was also ordered to forward the names and contact information of anyone who commented on the case.

The judge's order was "pretty clearly over-broad on its face and unconstitutional," said Nate Cordozo, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco civil rights group that deals with online issues.

A colleague of one of the attorneys who requested the order disagreed. "There is no First Amendment right to deceive and mislead people about their rights under a class action settlement," Mike Jaafar said.

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