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June 26, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Buffalo Wild Wings Lawsuit Over Boneless Wings False Advertising

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00:00

We've been talking quite a bit, as so many have about a lawsuit, a class action lawsuit, if you will, against Buffalo Wild Wings for allegedly having boneless wings that are not supposed to be boneless. But is there any merit to this? Let's bring in a local patent attorney, John Rizvi, joining us live. Hey, John. Good morning.

00:22

Yeah, good. Good. Always a pleasure to be here.

00:24

We're glad you are. So I actually have two suits in mind that I want to talk to you about. But let's see how we do on time. Let's start with this one. So this Buffalo Wild Wings lawsuit. You're the lawyer. Set it up for us, for folks who may not be aware, and let us know what you're thinking about the legitimacy of this?

00:39

Yeah, so under the Lanham Act, there's liability for false advertising. So basically, you claim a product is either source produced, or endorsed by a party that had no involvement. So that's, that's the basis of this lawsuit is that Buffalo Wild Wings sells boneless chicken wings, and the meat does not come from the wing of the chicken, it comes from the chicken breast. And the class action lawsuit is claiming that that's misleading. And that the harm is that the consumers are claiming they would have paid less had they known that it was breast meat and not wing meat.

01:18

I mean, what's reality? I mean, are there—- I was going to say, are there legs here? But I probably don't want to say that. So is there any merit to this?

01:27

So it's gonna come down to what the reasonably educated and knowledgeable consumer of average intelligence believes. There's other examples, like for example, like a hot dog. Nobody thinks that it's done. That you can't bring a lawsuit saying, Oh, I thought I was eating dog meat, a hamburger. It's known it's not ham, french fries are, you know, American. They're not imported from France. And that's the worry. And the question is, does this fall in the same category? Like, do consumers know that boneless chicken wings are not weighing meat? And this particular plaintiff argues that it's false advertising, that he would’ve ordered chicken nuggets, and the chain is profiting by calling them boneless chicken wings. The crux of the argument.

02:31

John, if you were on this case, if you were the lawyer on this case, which side would you want to be on?

02:38

I would not want to be the plaintiff in this case. I mean, it's clearly— there's a tweet by Buffalo Wild Wings, it's, you know, the public and the court of public opinion is certainly on the side of the restaurant chain. And that's why the chain put out a tweet saying it's true. Our boneless wings or all white chicken meat, our hamburgers contain no ham, and are buffalo wings or 0% buffalo. So kind of a tongue in cheek, a humorous tweet that they put out—a little bit risky because there's clearly admissions in that. I don't know. As a lawyer, I would advise a client to be publicly tweeting something like this, it comes across as really arrogant and cocky as if the plaintiff has like, like no case as if it's a frivolous lawsuit. But the reality is it from a PR standpoint, that's probably how most people view this, as a frivolous lawsuit. And if that's the case, that means most consumers know that boneless chicken wings are not really wing meat. They hope it's chicken meat, but they don't necessarily think it's wing meat, and if most consumers already know that, it's got a really low chance of this case going anywhere.

03:54

Yeah, and that's kind of what I was thinking. It's interesting that you mentioned the tweet thing, because I was thinking to myself as a non lawyer, this was either very, very lawyer or a very, very big risk by whatever PR person put out that tweet. Because that seemed to be real questionable. The other one that I loved is somebody put out that, at Chick-fil-A, the waffle fries are not made out of waffle batter. And nobody, nobody thinks that they are so. All right. We'll see how this one plays out. John, always a pleasure. We'll talk to you again soon. That's local patent attorney in Coral Springs, John Rizvi, joining us live.

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