McDonald's Obesity Lawsuit Downsized

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McDonald's Obesity Lawsuit Downsized

NEW YORK -- Lawyers attempting to prove that McDonald's food makes children fat have dropped a major part of their case.

In the suit against the fast-food chain, the plaintiffs' lawyers had claimed unknown ingredients and processing made foods such as French fries, Chicken McNuggets and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches damaging to consumers' health. But after a federal court hearing Wednesday, Samuel Hirsch, the plaintiffs' lawyer, told CNN: "We're not saying that there aren't any dangers, but it's the more difficult part of the lawsuit to prove and one that we will let others pursue. We felt the stronger claim is deceptive advertising."

McDonald's attorney Brad Lerman urged U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet to dismiss the case and accused Hirsch of basing his allegations of false advertising on incomplete information and outdated material. Lerman said Hirsch's lawsuit depended on nutritional brochures published in the United Kingdom and advertisements from 1987.

"It is clear that the plaintiffs not only didn't say they saw these advertisements, they couldn't have," said Lerman.

One of the plaintiffs wasn't born and the other was three years old when the 1987 advertisements were released. Hirsch argued that at this stage of proceedings it would be sufficient to show that the plaintiffs' parents were influenced by the advertisements.

"You can't just allege something that's not true," Lerman told Judge Sweet. "The advertisements are true, on the face of it they're true."

An earlier version of Hirsch's complaint was dismissed on January 22 by Sweet, who said the plaintiffs failed to show that McDonald's food was "dangerous in any way other than that which was open and obvious to a reasonable consumer."

Hirsch's suit seeks class-action status for "hundreds of thousands of New York State residents under the age of 18" who suffer health problems as a result of eating McDonald's food.

A McDonald's representative told CNN over 20 million people eat at McDonald's in the United States every day.