McDonald's filed its motion to dismiss the world famous Morgantown "McCheese" lawsuit this week, but one highly relevant item didn't make it into our news account.
It never does.
That's how much the company had to pay its hired lawyers just to file that motion.
McDonalds isn't saying, and companies like it never do. But we'll hazard a pretty educated guess that the price tag was no less than $25,000.
That's right. For the cost of a mid-range luxury car, McDonald's filed a few-page document with the Monongalia Circuit Court asking it to please get Timothy Houston, Jeromy Jackson, his friend and his mother off its back.
Good thing they sell so many Quarter Pounders. With and without cheese.
Class warfare types reading this surely will shrug their shoulders, positing to themselves that such legal fees aren't newsworthy. To be sure, McDonald's is a giant, multi-national corporation with billions in annual revenue. So what's a measly $25,000 to a company whose sales span six continents?
Well, it's $25,000.
That it doesn't come out of the late Ray Kroc's swollen personal bank account or a company's CEO slush fund shouldn't be lost on any of us. When large companies have to pay defense lawyers to deflect "McCheese"-like pot-shots, it comes at the direct expense of company shareholders and employees.
Indirectly, those fees eventually are borne by McDonald's customers. We who cherish our Big Macs and french fries cover the costs of lawsuit abuse, which are invisibly built in to those prices we're pondering before we place our order.
McDonald's trademark big fluorescent menu won't break out the "Timothy Houston lawsuit surcharge" from the actual cost of your McNuggets. But maybe it should.
Those most affected should at least be somewhat conscious of the broader consequences of plaintiff's lawyer jackpot justice hopes and dreams.
If Mr. Houston were to get his way, fast food prices wouldn't just shoot through the roof. Deeming every drive-through mistake potentially actionable to the tune of $10 million, they'd probably disappear altogether.
And the world would be made safer for Jeromy Jackson, who would no longer feel threatened by the looming inaccuracy of the Golden Arches.
Isn't that what courts are for?