A judge hearing the case regarding a McDonald’s in Dearborn has told an attorney to remove all references to the case from a Facebook page he created, according to The Detroit Free Press. The lawyer, Majed Moughni, has been barred from talking about a settlement reached last month with anyone who could be affected by it. The judge ordered that Moughni’s posts be replaced with copies of the settlement. He also has to forward the contact info and names of people who commented on the case or ‘Liked’ the post.
The order was issued by Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald and it has caused a discussion of free speech and concern that it will prevent people from receiving news about the case.
“That is a violation of free speech,” said Hanadi Kesserouani, 23, of Dearborn, who reads the Facebook page and opposes the settlement.
“The judge’s order is pretty clearly overbroad on its face and unconstitutional,” said Nate Cordozo, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Attorneys who settled the suit with McDonald’s asked the judge to make sure the site was monitored so as to prevent false statements from getting to the public. The settlement was for $700,000 and it was between McDonald’s and multiple groups from the Dearborn Muslim community.
The lawsuit was filed under claims that McDonald’s sold non-halal McChicken sandwiches and McNuggets that many thought were halal, which is the equivalent of kosher for the Islamic community.
The Huda Clinic, a Muslin health clinic in Detroit, will receive $275,000; the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn will receive $150,000; and a man from Dearborn Heights will receive $250,000. The rest of the settlement will go towards attorney fees.
Moughni did not like the settlement, saying it was a backroom deal. He received at least 1,300 people in support of his claims and filed a legal complaint on January 25. Attorneys who settled the case filed a motion that asked the judge to stop Moughni from making defamatory and false claims about the settlement.
The complaint from Moughni was dismissed by Judge MacDonald on Thursday, saying that he took part in “deliberative and abusive conduct.” She said that copies of the settlement have to be “prominently placed on the Facebook page wall.” He complied and has not posted anything new on the site since posting the settlement copies.
The order from Judge Macdonald also said that Moughni “shall cease and desist any and all communication with Class Members, or those who may be Class Members, about this case and the settlement.”