Miller v. McDonald’s Corp.
945 P.2d 1107 (Ore. App. 1997).

Facts:
Miller bit into a stone while eating a Big Mac and then sued McDonald’s. 3K Restaurants owned and operated the restaurant under a License Agreement (franchise).

History:
The trial court granted summary judgment for McDonald’s – it didn’t own or operate the restaurant, 3K did.

Issue:
Could a jury find that an actual agency or apparent agency existed?

Holding:
Yes.

Reasoning:
Actual Agency: McDonald’s retained sufficient control.

  • The franchise agreement went beyond the stage of setting standards and required 3K to use McDonald’s precise methods.
  • Further, McDonald’s enforced the methods by regular inspection.

Apparent Agency:

  • Miller went to the restaurant under the assumption that McDonald’s owned, controlled, and managed it.
  • She relied on their reputation.

This case was similar to Murphy v. Holiday Inns, Inc. but with a different result. In this case, as stated, McDonald’s “went beyond the stage of setting standards” and basically created the blueprint for the business. It was much more involved than Holiday Inn’s requirements.