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dismissed Dublin man loses €75,000 defamation claim against McDonalds restaurant chain

Mark White claimed he had been accused by a staff member of having laced two Coca Cola drinks with vodka

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Mark White pictured leaving court yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts

Mark White pictured leaving court yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts

Mark White pictured leaving court yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts

A Dublin man, who claimed he had been accused in a McDonalds Restaurant by a staff member of having laced two Coca Cola drinks with vodka, has lost a €75,000 defamation claim against the restaurant chain.

Mark White, of Lally Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10, claimed in the Circuit Civil Court today that when he returned with the drinks to McDonalds in Kylemore, Ballyfermot, a lady manager had told him: “No,no you put vodka in.”

Judge James McCourt, dismissing White’s claim and directing that he pay the restaurant’s legal costs, said that in reaching his decision he did not think Mr White to be dishonest, deceitful or a liar.

“I don’t believe he has cleared the bar of establishing that he was wronged and I must dismiss his claim,” Judge McCourt said.

White said he had bought a €20 takeaway of food, including two medium Coca Cola drinks in the McDonalds restaurant on September 28, 2019 and when eating it a friend had said to him that the drinks smelled of vodka.

Later he and his friend had brought the drinks back to the restaurant where a member of the staff had smelled them and told him he had put the vodka in himself. She had said: “No,no you put vodka in.”

The court heard White had denied to McDonalds staff that he would ever lace a friends drink and had not since the incident received an apology or a refund that had been promised to him.

He had been shocked when told he had put the vodka in himself and felt the accusation made against him publicly had meant he was dishonest, deceitful and a liar.

Barrister Cormac MacNamara, who appeared with Harrison O’Dowd Solicitors, Limerick, for Persian Restaurants Limited, owners of the Ballyfermot restaurant, said McDonalds denied the words complained of had been spoken.

A McDonalds manager told the court staff were not allowed to bring alcohol into any of the companies restaurants. In 20 years working for the company she had never known of alcohol having been on a premises.

She said that when drinks were poured in a McDonalds restaurant they were poured automatically to a pre-determined level with just enough space to put a lid on them.

Judge McCourt, after dismissing White’s claim, said it would be sending out the wrong signal if he did not make an order for costs against him.

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