A few weeks ago, we reported on McDonalds suing to recover severance and bonus payments paid to terminated CEO Steve Easterbrook. On the heels of that evolving storm, executives at McDonalds now have an additional matter to deal with – a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by 52 black former franchisees. In the suit, filed in federal district court early this week, the former franchisees allege they were steered to less desirable urban locations where sales and profits would be lower. In addition, some franchisees noted that they were forced or consolidated out of the system at a faster rate than others. The plaintiffs assess damages at roughly $2-4 million per unit. McDonald’s denies the allegations noting franchisee consolidation had been underway for considerable time. DDIFO Restaurant Analyst John Gordon noted that this will be an additional considerable diversion for senior management, with several high stakes litigation matters now underway, including the aforementioned Easterbrook litigation. “McDonald’s is behind on some critical customer facing initiatives that take great focus to implement”, Gordon said. “This gives Dunkin and others a period of opportunity”.