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(The Consumerist)   Woman sues McDonalds over hot coffee. This actually is a repeat from 1992. Just different players   (consumerist.com) divider line 194
    More: Dumbass, coffee, pain and suffering  
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18118 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Feb 2010 at 11:40 AM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-02-07 12:10:22 PM  
Ikimasen: st food restaurant. And that they stepped back on the heat after the lawsuit, but have since steadily stepped it up to 180 again. So, I mean,

YEp. If everyone else is serving coffee at 120, and you choose to server yours at 180, which is hot enough to cause deep tissue burning and scarring, then you are causing a potential health hazzard.
 
2010-02-07 12:11:39 PM  
The coont is entitled to nada, you have to assume the risk and be smart enough to transfer the cup outside the car window. She sounds like a Darwin product, send her back empty handed.
 
2010-02-07 12:13:08 PM  
AntiNorm: dethmagnetic: Had a kid on my burn clinical whose sister accidentally spilled McD's coffee on her. She had second and third degree burns over 60% of her body. It was definitely mental anguish on my part to watch them handle her skin grafts.

60% of her body? How f*cking big was that cup, 2 gallons?


Well, the kid in question was only five or six months old.
 
2010-02-07 12:15:05 PM  
WhiteCrane: jake3988: Well, it's certainly more reasons than the 'millions' the other old geezer wanted, but it's still too much.

Sue for the medical. Sue for the lost wages. NOTHING ELSE. There's no mental anguish over a bit of coffee, moron.

Get your couple hundred bucks in rewards (and then lose it right back to attorney fees) and STFU.

Once again, not getting what happened in the first one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants

1) McD's had already been told to reduce the temperature of the coffee, and had already had 700 cases of people being burned where they paid $500K out
2) The woman initially sought $20K after getting 3rd degree burns over 6% of her skin and other burns over 16% (11K of medical bills) and McD's offered her $800. After that it was when the lawyers came in, and even then the initial amount the lawyer wanted was $90K.
3) The woman and her lawyer never asked for "millions". The JURY decided they should get them, and in the end the total ended up beng less than 600K


You know what - screw you with all your pesky "facts" and what-nots. Obviously this woman is anti-american and probably a terrorist who is trying to kill our economy by suing McDonalds which except for serving french fries is the most patriotic business in the US of A. Also too, lawyers all suck and only work for democrats.
 
2010-02-07 12:15:40 PM  
OniNeko,

I've asked for no ice in the past and was told they couldn't do that. It might just be the policy of the particular location I always go to, who knows. I was told, "We have to put ice in it".
 
2010-02-07 12:16:25 PM  
She has to sue for more than her medical bills ($300). In most states, the court will dismiss it unless it reaches $x, which is usually in the neighborhood of $2,500. Add on a little more to make sure you're well within the limit and attorney fees are covered (most plaintiff lawyers work on contingency), and you've got your foot in the door. If you only sue for medical damages and lost wages, not only will you end up in small claims court which has no enforcement power (can't make McDonalds pay), but you'll lose even more money paying your lawyer.
 
2010-02-07 12:16:47 PM  
scott-ty: The coont is entitled to nada, you have to assume the risk and be smart enough to transfer the cup outside the car window. She sounds like a Darwin product, send her back empty handed.

So, if they handed you a cup and the cup collapsed in your hand due to cheap manufacturing and you burned the crap out of your hand, too bad, coffee is hot man.
 
2010-02-07 12:17:44 PM  
scott-ty: The coont is entitled to nada, you have to assume the risk and be smart enough to transfer the cup outside the car window. She sounds like a Darwin product, send her back empty handed.

Let me get this straight, oh legal scholar... One assumes a risk of having coffee spilled on them when going through a restaurant drive thru? One further assumes the risk that the coffee is kept at a temperature far exceeding that of the industry standard and is known to be able to cause 2nd degree burns in contact with skin? Really?
 
2010-02-07 12:20:23 PM  
Bucephalos: She has to sue for more than her medical bills ($300). In most states, the court will dismiss it unless it reaches $x, which is usually in the neighborhood of $2,500. Add on a little more to make sure you're well within the limit and attorney fees are covered (most plaintiff lawyers work on contingency), and you've got your foot in the door. If you only sue for medical damages and lost wages, not only will you end up in small claims court which has no enforcement power (can't make McDonalds pay), but you'll lose even more money paying your lawyer.

Wow, there is just a whole bunch of wrong in there.
 
2010-02-07 12:21:07 PM  
jake3988: Well, it's certainly more reasons than the 'millions' the other old geezer wanted, but it's still too much.

Sue for the medical. Sue for the lost wages. NOTHING ELSE. There's no mental anguish over a bit of coffee, moron.


The old geezer asked for $20k for her medical bills (she had third degree burns to her junk). McDonald's refused. At trial, she didn't even ask for the 'millions' - that was all the work of the jury, who wanted to punish McDonald's for being such assholes.
 
2010-02-07 12:21:44 PM  
My experience has been that McD's coffee is served radically too hot. It's so hot you can't even taste it properly when it is first served. I have heard that they do this on purpose so someone can pick up a bunch of coffees at the window and bring them to their crew at the office or worksite 10 miles down the road and they will still be hot.
 
2010-02-07 12:22:57 PM  
And yet, Big Doggy Door has not paid for their gross negligence.
 
2010-02-07 12:25:12 PM  
NightOwl2255:

Wow, there is just a whole bunch of wrong in there.

Unless you're going for a class action or the injury also violated some statute, I don't think I am wrong.
 
2010-02-07 12:25:18 PM  
theotherbilly: OniNeko,

I've asked for no ice in the past and was told they couldn't do that. It might just be the policy of the particular location I always go to, who knows. I was told, "We have to put ice in it".


The franchisee sounds like a miser in this case, but you really do have to protect your right to screw someone out of 75% of the advertised volume of the drink.

You wouldn't catch me at that place twice. Actually, I'm such a prick that I would tell them to cancel the order if they really feel like enforcing such an asinine policy on the first visit and head straight to their competitor.
 
2010-02-07 12:28:17 PM  
I had my entire crew go to McDonnellz because we needed a place to go and they tried to not serve us because they were closing in 2 MINUTES!! Welllllll I wasn't having any of that... Link (new window)
 
2010-02-07 12:28:43 PM  
It burned this lady bad enough to give her scars? Then they are still keeping their coffee at extremely hot and dangerous temperatures. There is drinkable hot, and there is too damn hot. I can't believe McDonald's is still making coffee too hot for human consumption even after that huge award against them. Damn what does it take to make them monitor the temperature of their coffee better?

In the Stella case, McDonald's served the coffee at roughly 190 degrees. 190 Degree liquid will cause third-degree burns within 2-7 seconds of contact with the skin. Over 700 men, women, and children had been burned prior to Stella's lawsuit. Stella offered to settle with McDonalds just for her medical bills. They refused. Link (new window)

Really, how hot do you make your coffee at home? Most restaurants sell coffee at 135 to 140 degrees. Why can't McDoanld's just lower the temperature a little? (135 degrees is still hot). How stupid is it to insist on keeping it so hot it instantly causes sever burns when spilled?
 
2010-02-07 12:28:51 PM  
Nakito: My experience has been that McD's coffee is served radically too hot [...] on purpose so someone can pick up a bunch of coffees at the window and bring them to their crew at the office or worksite 10 miles down the road and they will still be hot.

They do that so they can make more coffee from a given quantity of grounds. It's a cost saving measure that occasionally costs people their genitals.
 
2010-02-07 12:29:17 PM  
SilentStrider: What do you mean there's no ice. You mean I have to drink this coffee hot?

Screw you. I wasn't even supposed to be here today.

/the radio ads they play for McD's coffee annoy me to no end
//doesn't matter what size you choose, honey, your boss will only demote you for bringing her crappy coffee
 
2010-02-07 12:29:19 PM  
WhiteCrane: 2) The woman initially sought $20K after getting 3rd degree burns over 6% of her skin and other burns over 16% (11K of medical bills)

It doesn't matter how much money she originally asked for, she split the coffee on herself she should not have asked for $1, being hurt more doesn't make it less of an accident. Coffee is hot I often boil the water so it is about 100 Degrees when I drink it (or like 212 F) as long as in it is in liquid form it is still not to hot. I await coffee plasma


the system for determining value of an award is also crap if tom cruise gets more for being called gay then some guy for getting his arm cut off.
 
2010-02-07 12:32:02 PM  
Bucephalos: She has to sue for more than her medical bills ($300).

No, she doesn't.

Bucephalos: In most states, the court will dismiss it unless it reaches $x,

Completely wrong.

Bucephalos: If you only sue for medical damages and lost wages, not only will you end up in small claims court

Doens't matter what you're suing for, the only difference between small claims court and superior court is the amount. You almost got this part right.

NightOwl2255: which has no enforcement power (can't make McDonalds pay)

100% wrong.
 
2010-02-07 12:32:55 PM  
Zik-Zak: bunner: Dear Ms. Douchesocket,

I move to make this word the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year.


If they have an online poll, consider it done.
 
2010-02-07 12:35:34 PM  
I work in a coffee shop. Most of the spilled-drink incidents I've seen were caused by customers picking up their drinks BY THE LID.

Don't farking do that. The cup sleeves are there for a reason.
 
2010-02-07 12:36:23 PM  
If I had a McDonalds Franchise, something like this would never happen.
I would require that hot Beverages would not be available at the drive up window. They would only be available for purchase inside.
 
2010-02-07 12:37:53 PM  
Aunt Crabby:
Really, how hot do you make your coffee at home?


A bit over 200 degrees. Hotter than McDonald's.
 
2010-02-07 12:38:35 PM  
This selling hotter than the industry standard is a load of crap, coffee from all drip coffee machines is first evaporated so it should be at 210 degrees
 
2010-02-07 12:39:45 PM  
big mac with cheese: WhiteCrane: 2) The woman initially sought $20K after getting 3rd degree burns over 6% of her skin and other burns over 16% (11K of medical bills)

It doesn't matter how much money she originally asked for, she split the coffee on herself she should not have asked for $1, being hurt more doesn't make it less of an accident. Coffee is hot I often boil the water so it is about 100 Degrees when I drink it (or like 212 F) as long as in it is in liquid form it is still not to hot. I await coffee plasma


the system for determining value of an award is also crap if tom cruise gets more for being called gay then some guy for getting his arm cut off.


I can tell you're not an American, both from the reference to 100 degrees centigrade and your use of grammar, so allow me to explain a distinction between some different legal systems you may not be aware of:
Contributory negligence is a term for a common law defense to a negligence claim. It is a total defense. Essentially, if a plaintiff is at all responsible - even 1% - the entire claim is dismissed. This is what you seem to be suggesting above.
Comparative negligence or non-absolute contributory negligence is where the plaintiff's negligence reduces the damage award. If the plaintiff is 10% responsible, the damages are reduced by 10%. If the plaintiff is 40% responsible, the damages are reduced by 40%.
There is also a hybrid system, in which if the plaintiff is more responsible than the defendant - i.e. 51% or higher - then the entire claim is dismissed.

The majority of states use the comparative negligence scheme. The McDonald's geezer had her damages claim reduced due to her own negligence.

Very few states use contributory negligence, the system you suggest, and only the very backward states like Alabama and Virginia. A plaintiff can almost always be found to be 1% negligent: I'm lazy and refuse to break up the ice on my porch stairs or put out ice melt. You slip and break your hip. But wait - you weren't wearing boots with heavy cleats. It's the winter, a reasonable person wears boots with heavy cleats. 1% negligent, so you get nothing.
This is why it has been almost completely abandoned. It's a system that only benefits wealthy defendants who can hire good lawyers.
 
2010-02-07 12:40:42 PM  
You're just taking issue with the way I phrased it. My point was, suing for $7,500 is good strategy.
 
2010-02-07 12:42:02 PM  
The original case was won because it was discovered that McDonalds brewed their coffee to a temperature that was at least 30 to 50 degrees higher than other coffee sellers do.

McDonalds strategy was to ensure that the coffee was still very hot when you arrive at work or wherever it was you were going. At the temperature it is served there is really no way anyone could drink it.

The reason why the lawsuit was so large falls under the idea of punitive damages. McDonalds had had other complaints about super heated coffee and had done nothing about it.

In most cases the fastest way to get a company to do anything is to hit them in the wallet. Punitive damages increase exponentially if corrective action isn't taken.

Since then, McDonalds lowered the serving temperature of their coffee to something that won't immediately take all of the skin off of your inner thighs. The burns that lady suffered were not minor, she lost all of the skin on her inner thighs.

The corporate apologists did a fantastic job of getting people to be sympathetic to McDonalds.
 
2010-02-07 12:42:24 PM  
big mac with cheese: This selling hotter than the industry standard is a load of crap

It's true, because industry standards are only barely relevant to negligence. Consider if the industry standard was to save money and not purchase hard hats or fall arresters for construction workers. I'm sure a lot of construction companies would gladly save the money. Similarly, many coal mine companies would happily save money on bracing walls so carefully. And surgeons would like to save time and hassle by not bothering to count and recount their sponges. Yes, let's allow profit-driven industries to determine their own standards of negligence. That's fookin' brilliant.
 
2010-02-07 12:42:25 PM  
tbyte: Aunt Crabby:
Really, how hot do you make your coffee at home?

A bit over 200 degrees. Hotter than McDonald's.


Then if you get burned it's your own problem. However if the industry standard is 135 degrees (and that is hot) and 190 causes 3rd degree burns within 2 seconds (how is your tongue and throat doing?) then McDonald's should follow the industry standard, especially after multiple severe burn complaints.
 
2010-02-07 12:43:37 PM  
DevideByZer0: The original case was won because... McDonalds had had other complaints about super heated coffee and had done nothing about it.

FTFY. It was that behavior that had put them on notice for negligence. The industry standards are a red herring.
 
2010-02-07 12:44:10 PM  
Aunt Crabby: tbyte: Aunt Crabby:
Really, how hot do you make your coffee at home?

A bit over 200 degrees. Hotter than McDonald's.

Then if you get burned it's your own problem. However if the industry standard is 135 degrees (and that is hot) and 190 causes 3rd degree burns within 2 seconds (how is your tongue and throat doing?) then McDonald's should follow the industry standard, especially after multiple severe burn complaints.


They do follow the industry standard. As do I.
 
2010-02-07 12:44:10 PM  
big mac with cheese: This selling hotter than the industry standard is a load of crap, coffee from all drip coffee machines is first evaporated so it should be at 210 degrees

Um, no (new window). You're completely wrong, and if you regularly drank your coffee at 200 degrees, you'd have no taste buds left.
 
SH
2010-02-07 12:44:17 PM  
Nothing funnier than a thread full of semi-retarded internet lawyers.
 
2010-02-07 12:45:04 PM  
big mac with cheese: This selling hotter than the industry standard is a load of crap, coffee from all drip coffee machines is first evaporated so it should be at 210 degrees

when it is being made or when it is served?
 
2010-02-07 12:45:14 PM  
Aunt Crabby: However if the industry standard is 135 degrees (and that is hot) and 190 causes 3rd degree burns within 2 seconds (how is your tongue and throat doing?) then McDonald's should follow the industry standard, especially after multiple severe burn complaints.

What if the industry standard was "served in a high-pressure sealed container so that the water temperature can hit 500 degrees without boiling"? Would that absolve them of claims of negligence?
Nope. Industry standard is the floor for negligence, not the ceiling. Compliance with the standard isn't a defense.
 
2010-02-07 12:46:01 PM  
doglover: It's the also seeking "Pain and anguish" damages that make me want to keel haul her.

Is it 'pain and anguish' for continuously being held up as an erroneous example of a legal system run amok when McDonald's was clearly in the wrong?

Cause I'm usually suspicious of pain and anguish claims, but in an age of Google, I think that lady might be entitled to something for all the mocking she's probably endured.

While having burns in someplace very uncomfortable, no less.

/back of a voltswagon
 
2010-02-07 12:47:07 PM  
StreetlightInTheGhetto: doglover: It's the also seeking "Pain and anguish" damages that make me want to keel haul her.

Is it 'pain and anguish' for continuously being held up as an erroneous example of a legal system run amok when McDonald's was clearly in the wrong?

Cause I'm usually suspicious of pain and anguish claims, but in an age of Google, I think that lady might be entitled to something for all the mocking she's probably endured.

While having burns in someplace very uncomfortable, no less.

/back of a voltswagon


IIRC, she died before the age of Google.
 
2010-02-07 12:51:11 PM  
risc averse:

Idiocy abounds here. ...

This state used to be cool. Now it sucks major a$$.

We are leaving.




I can only second your insight that idiocy abounds here.

Oregon remains the only place where I've been where you regularly see people riding their bicycles on the interstate.
 
2010-02-07 12:51:20 PM  
Here's a short writeup that explains the previous incident that made the news in 2001:
Link (new window)

Here are the major points:

-The coffee was not hot. It was retardedly hot. The coffee was around 85°. Normal household coffee is about 60°.
During discovery, more than 700 claims from other people burned by McDonald's scalding coffee were produced.
-The jury found Liebeck 20% at fault in the spill.
-The judge called McDonalds' conduct reckless, callous and willful. I called them a bunch of greedy pricks with no concern for their customers.
 
2010-02-07 12:53:18 PM  
I love trial lawyers. To persist in your calling when you are slandered, vilified and ostracized is noble, and I might actually need one of you one day. If you get a cut good for you.

Fight tort reform and protect the power of the people. It's not ok for McD's to continue to abuse people. I'm boycotting their asses. Spicy McChickens aren't that good. Chick Fil-A FTW!

/I'm really not trolling
 
2010-02-07 12:54:45 PM  
Blade Danger: Here's a short writeup that explains the previous incident that made the news in 2001:
Link (new window)

Here are the major points:

-The coffee was not hot. It was retardedly hot. The coffee was around 85°. Normal household coffee is about 60°.
During discovery, more than 700 claims from other people burned by McDonald's scalding coffee were produced.
-The jury found Liebeck 20% at fault in the spill.
-The judge called McDonalds' conduct reckless, callous and willful. I called them a bunch of greedy pricks with no concern for their customers.


Normal household coffee is not 60 degrees. I wouldn't drink that shiat. What manufacturer makes a machine that cold??
 
2010-02-07 12:56:24 PM  
Pemulis: yet somehow they found 12 jurors who did.

12 jurors found O.J. not guilty.
 
2010-02-07 12:56:42 PM  
if the coffee spilled while the employee was handing it to her, then she has a case. If it happened after the transfer occurred, probably not. At least she isn't seeking millions.
 
2010-02-07 01:01:40 PM  
Curious: Pemulis: yet somehow they found 12 jurors who did.

12 jurors found O.J. not guilty.


Difference between civil and criminal liability, for the win.
 
2010-02-07 01:02:22 PM  
tbyte: Normal household coffee is not 60 degrees. I wouldn't drink that shiat. What manufacturer makes a machine that cold??

Person who doesn't understand difference between Centigrade and Fahrenheit, for the loss.
 
2010-02-07 01:02:45 PM  
Theaetetus:

I can tell you're not an American, both from the reference to 100 degrees centigrade and your use of grammar, so allow me to explain a distinction between some different legal systems you may not be aware of:
Contributory negligence is a term for a common law defense to a negligence claim. It is a total defense. Essentially, if a plaintiff is at all responsible - even 1% - the entire claim is dismissed. This is what you seem to be suggesting above.
Comparative negligence or non-absolute contributory negligence is where the plaintiff's negligence reduces the damage award. If the plaintiff is 10% responsible, the damages are reduced by 10%. If the plaintiff is 40% responsible, the damages are reduced by 40%.
There is also a hybrid system, in which if the plaintiff is more responsible than the defendant - i.e. 51% or higher - then the entire claim is dismissed.

The majority of states use the comparative negligence scheme. The McDonald's geezer had her damages claim reduced due to her own negligence.

Very few states use contributory negligence, the system you suggest, and only the very backward states like Alabama and Virginia. A plaintiff can almost always be found to be 1% negligent: I'm lazy and refuse to break up the ice on my porch stairs or put out ice melt. You slip and break your hip. But wait - you weren't wearing boots with heavy cleats. It's the winter, a reasonable person wears boots with heavy cleats. 1% negligent, so you get nothing.
This is why it has been almost completely abandoned. It's a system that only benefits wealthy defendants who can hire good lawyers.


You misunderstood me it should be 0% McDonald's fault, its an accident just because it is not one persons fault does not mean it is someone else's FilmBELOH20: big mac with cheese: This selling hotter than the industry standard is a load of crap, coffee from all drip coffee machines is first evaporated so it should be at 210 degrees

Um, no (new window). You're completely wrong, and if you regularly drank your coffee at 200 degrees, you'd have no taste buds left.


The link says that the coffee is evaporated (thus heated to boiling point) sure it cools a bit before you serve it but most people drink it pretty fresh, also the milk and stuff will cool it, just like a chain restaurant prepares for.
 
2010-02-07 01:03:29 PM  
Theaetetus: tbyte: Normal household coffee is not 60 degrees. I wouldn't drink that shiat. What manufacturer makes a machine that cold??

Person who doesn't understand difference between Centigrade and Fahrenheit, for the loss.


Person who doesn't understand coffee for the lose. 60 degrees is cold for coffee.
 
2010-02-07 01:06:18 PM  
www.anecdotoff.com

She can sue them over hot coffee? Why can't I sue them for this??
 
2010-02-07 01:07:49 PM  
tbyte: Theaetetus: tbyte: Normal household coffee is not 60 degrees. I wouldn't drink that shiat. What manufacturer makes a machine that cold??

Person who doesn't understand difference between Centigrade and Fahrenheit, for the loss.

Person who doesn't understand coffee for the lose. 60 degrees is cold for coffee.


[facepalm]
 
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