32 restaurants out of how many thousands? Also McDonalds restaurants are franchises. Do we know how much information of this sort is communicated back to the corporate level? If 32 reports are made nation-wide, how long does it take to get up the ladder, and get recognized as a pattern? What span of time was there between the first incident and the last? Did these occur in a short frame of time?
If I own a McDonalds in South Carolina, I would not neccesarily assume that up in Montana they are going to run into the same hoax and thus I may need to call corporate and put in a memo. I have no idea what the company policy/procedure is on that though.
Why did the police not issue a bulletin to be wary of this sort of thing? They had 162, almost 11 times as many, cases nation-wide, and they are generally in a better position to cross-reference such information.
Too many unanswered questions, and too many points where simple corporate inefficiency and poor communication, NOT accidental or even intentional negligience, are likely for this to warrant a $200 million dollar judgement.