Free Essay

Mcdonalds and Lieback

In: Social Issues

Submitted By worthyprincess
Words 643
Pages 3
McDonalds coffee and the Liebeck lawsuit

•Osmond-Riba home •Elisabeth Riba home •Elisabeth Riba's Journal

Writing >

I've read recently that the McDonald's coffee lawsuit is back in the news again, being used as an example of frivolous lawsuits, irresponsible juries, excessive verdicts, a generally out-of-control legal system, and thus a justification for tort reform. However, after doing some research, I discovered that the case was hardly as unreasonable as people often make it out to be.

I originally wrote this for Usenet several years ago; the links at the bottom of the essay may have expired.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

McDonalds coffee and the Liebeck lawsuit Lis Riba, 2000 Here are some facts about what really happened:

At the trial, it was revealed: •McDonalds required their coffee kept at 185 degrees Fahrenheit, plus or minus 5 degrees, significantly higher than other establishments. [Coffee is usually served at 135 to 140 degrees] •An expert testified that 180 degree liquids will cause full thickness burns in 2 to 7 seconds. •McDonalds knew before this accident that burn hazards exist with any foods served above 140 degrees. •McDonalds knew that its coffee would burn drinkers at the temperature they served it. •McDonalds research showed that customers consumed coffee immediately while driving. •McDonalds knew of over 700 people burned by its coffee, including many third-degree burns similar to Ms. Liebeck's. •McDonalds had received previous requests from consumers and safety organizations to lower their coffee temperature. There were many things McDonalds could've done to prevent injuries: •lowering the holding temperature of their coffee, •putting warning labels on the cups not to drink immediately, •redesigning the cups to minimize tipping or prevent drinking in cars McDonalds knew of the risk and knew scores of injured customers, but did nothing to mitigate the chance of injury. Evidence showed that McDonalds served their coffee so hot to save money. This let them get away with a cheaper grade of coffee and cut down on the number of free refills they had to give away. McDonalds executives testified that they thought it would be cheaper to pay claims and worker's compensation benefits to people burned by their coffee versus making any of these changes.

Even the trial court judge called McDonalds' conduct willful, wanton, reckless and callous.

On to the situation at hand: •Stella Liebeck, age 79, was a passenger in the car. •The car was at a full stop so she could add cream and sugar to her coffee. [She was not the driver and the car was not moving.] •The cup tipped and spilled over her lap. •Within a few seconds, Ms. Liebeck suffered third-degree burns over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, genitals and groin. •Ms. Liebeck was hospitalized for 8 days, and required skin grafting and debridement treatments. •Parts of Ms. Liebeck's body were permanently scarred. •Ms. Liebeck tried to settle with McDonald's for $20,000 to cover her medical expenses. McDonalds offered her $800. She sought mediation, but McDonald's refused. •The jury initially awarded Ms. Liebeck the equivalent of two days worth of coffee sales for McDonalds as punitive damages. •The trial judge reduced the verdict to something under $600,000. McDonalds has since lowered the temperature on their coffee.

Information comes primarily from http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm Other sources I used and/or would recommend on this case are: •http://www.accidentline.com/McDonalds.htm •http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:30657179&dq=cache:www.law4business.com/justice-lawyer-lawsuit-faq.htm •http://www.vamedmal.com/mainpages/FAQ.htm •http://www.omnology.com/mcds.html •http://quellerfisher.ljextra.com/liebeck.html •http://web.langston.com/Fun_People/1997/1997BCY.html •http://www.bhm.tis.net/jury/corner/dec09b.html •http://insuranceattorney.com/McDonaldsCoffeeSpill.htm •http://www.andrewprince.com/SOMECOLDarticle3.html

TOP

Copyright © 2000 - 2003 Elisabeth Riba,
All Rights Reserved

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Case Studies Research

...Week 7: Case Studies Research Michael Abernathy 11/24/15 AMBA 610 The Facts The circumstances in the case of Stella Lieback v McDonald’s Restaurant consist of a hot coffee burn incident. Stella Lieback a 79- year old woman from Albuquerque, New Mexico visited a drive-through McDonalds. The incident took place on February 27, 1992 as a passenger in her grandsons ’89 ford probe, a vehicle with no cup holders. The case of Roy L. Pearson V Chung better known as the “pants lawsuit” which was a civil case filed in ‘2005. Pearson sued a D.C. dry cleaning establishment by the name of Custom Cleaners, for over $67 million for the loss of a pair of pants. The facts in the case state that the plaintiff left a pair of gray pants that probably could be extricated by a trio of belt loops on both sides of the front waist band. It appears there was a delay in providing the clothing due to plaintiff stating that the pants returned to him weren’t those submitted for service. As a result of the dispute the recourse taken by Custom Cleaners was to provide records and tags with proper documentation belonging to Pearson to resolve the issue at hand. Monetary play of $1,000.00 was the move Pearson made to Mr. Chung in order to rectify the dispute with the cleaners. This led to a refusal by the cleaner owner and Pearson filing a suit in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court. The Issues Presented The issues identified in case are third -degree medical burns from the coffee...

Words: 1840 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Case Analysis - Liebeck V. Mcdonald’s Restaurants Andpearson V. Chung

...Case Analysis Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants Pearson v. Chung Introduction Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurant, also referred to as the “McDonald coffee case”, was a well known case in the United States of America in 1994 because it was considered frivolous. The case involved a woman Stella Lieback, who spilled the hot coffee she purchased from McDonald onto her lap and sustained a series of third degree burns, and was awarded millions of dollars from her lawsuit against McDonalds. The coffee was not only hot, but it was scalding, capable of immediate damage to the skin, flesh and muscle (Letric Law, 2011). In addition to the above case, the Pearson v. Chung case, also known as the “pants lawsuit”, was also a well known case in America in 2005 (Lexis-Nexis, 2008). This is a case where an administrative law judge in the District of Columbia had taken a pair of pants to the cleaners for alteration and dry cleaning; and sued the cleaners for $67 million dollars for the loss of his pants. The case was considered frivolous and became a flashpoint in the debate in the United States over tort reform (Lexis-Nexis, 2008). The major focus of this paper will be to critically analyze these two cases on the stated facts, the issues, the applicable laws, and the decision of the judge and the jury. What are the facts? There are some facts associated with Liebeck v. McDonald’s case. The woman involved in this case was 79-year old Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico,...

Words: 4178 - Pages: 17