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Oprah-KFC Grilled Chicken class action settlement

You may remember the incident where KFC decided to advertise with the help of Oprah, and was overwhelmed with customers demanding more free chicken sandwiches than the chain had available to offer. The company voluntarily replaced the coupons with rainchecks, 2.7 million of which were redeemed for free sandwiches, but there was still a class action demanding other recompense.

That other recompense is now available in a class action settlement. (There is the pleasant irony that class members will be turning in coupons in exchange for cash. It usually goes in the other direction.) The millions of class members who downloaded a coupon on May 5 or May 6, 2009, but didn't bother to get a free sandwich or other compensation from KFC have a second bite at the apple in the form of a settlement fund that reserves less than $678,000 for the class. If, given the hoop-jumping required to make a claim, the settlement fund is not exhausted by claims, the remainder goes in "cy pres" to local Illinois charities, despite it being a nationwide class. The attorneys are asking for $515,000 for themselves and $25,000 for their clients.

The case is in the Northern District of Illinois (In re Kentucky Grilled Chicken Coupon Marketing & Sales Practices Litigation, No. 1:09-cv-7670), and the Seventh Circuit does not look kindly on class action settlements like this one.

One hopes that there is a class member willing to come forward to object to the settlement and that they take advantage of their ability to access one of the pro bono attorneys who represents such class members for free.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.