A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit accusing McDonald’s Corp. of racial profiling for placing black franchise owners in underperforming stores.

In a decision released Tuesday, District Judge Harry Leinenweber said the plaintiffs did not show that McDonald’s executives or managers treated African-American store owners differently from non-blacks, or when such a thing could have happened.

“The court does not want to imply that McDonald’s operations over the years have not been tainted by racism,” but historical discrimination did not justify the lawsuit, the Chicago-based judge wrote.

James and Darrell Byrd, brothers with four McDonald’s restaurants in Tennessee, accused the company of placing franchised blacks in unwanted downtown locations with high security and insurance costs and below-average sales.

They also said that Chicago-based fast food chains denied black owners the same opportunities for growth and financial assistance that they did offer whites.

Leinenweber said the Byrds can amend their lawsuit, but forever dismissed their allegations about the locations because the statute of limitations had run out.

The Byrd’s attorney, Jim Ferraro, said Wednesday that they will amend their complaint. He also claimed that McDonald’s has lowered rents for many black shop owners since the lawsuit was filed in October.

McDonald’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but has previously refused to treat black owners differently and repeatedly reiterated its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

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