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Do you think this is a frivolous lawsuit?

This is in response to some answers I saw in another post. Sorry, but this is a "button" for me. Many people think it's ridiculous that a woman got a large amount of money awarded to her as a result of being burned by hot coffee from McDonald's. It may sound bogus, but if you knew the facts you may agree with the jury. Mcd's used to brew their coffee at 205 degree and serve it at about 190. There were also 700 prior complaints that were settled out of court. The woman spilled the coffee on her lap while putting cream and sugar in it. The coffee caused 3rd degree burns on her genitals, thighs, and buttocks which required skin graphs and a week of hospitalization. I know coffee is supposed to be hot, but should it be able to disfigure you?

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Asked by Anonymous at 5:14 PM on Dec. 26, 2008 in Just for Fun

Answers (35)
  • Coffee should not disfigure you, if you think that "Hey, this sh*t might be hot, maybe I should be careful when I take a drink"... but again, maybe thats just me, being rationale. I think it sucks personally for someone to sue over hot beverages... I did spill my soda the other day when it was cold, maybe I got frost bite?? (As I call my atttorney.. I have to go now...)

    Answer by pupmom at 5:18 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • No, I'm sorry, I still think it's ridiculous. Should I be allowed to sue the maker of my oven if I burn myself on it as I pull dinner out? Or the maker of my grill if I get burned grilling burgers or ribs? Of course not. It's a chance you take when you are dealing with hot items, and you should deal with them appropriately. If she was putting cream and sugar in it, why not put it in the cup holder? Then she wouldn't have spilled it all over herself. There's a point where personal responsibility comes into play. I'm sorry she got so severely injured, but really...common sense and a little thought can go a long way.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:21 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • I'm sure we've all spilled coffee on ourselves. Usually the coffee cools as it is spilling so when it lands on us it is absorbed by clothing and we get a little red. She originally sued for medical bills. When McDonald's sent her 800 dollars for a 30K medical bill, she consulted a lawyer and they continued on with a lawsuit. She did not go into this to intentionally win millions of dollars. She went into suing McDonalds for medical and won (it's unsure exactly how much) but about 600 thousand. Cont.

    Answer by lizzeh at 5:24 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • I believe she was right to sue and despite claims that, "I would never sue over that." What would have happened if Stella Liebeck was walking with her coffee, a child runs into her to get to the play area and both coffee spills on her and on the child. Still causing third degree burns and need for skin grafts? Who would be at fault then? In my opinion it would be McDonalds, because for years they still had the civil suits for how hot the coffee was. It wouldn't be the woman who accidentally spilled the coffee fault and it wouldn't be the parents whose child accidentally ran into it. McDonalds, purposefully keeps their coffee that hot.


    Answer by lizzeh at 5:28 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • I think to get her medical bills, fine. But I do think she should have also been held personally accountable. It's common sense that you don't put hot drinks between your legs. If you are old enough and competent enough to operate a car then you are old enough and competent enough to know better than this. She should not have gotten millions in punitive damages. Pay her medical bills. Pain and suffering - that goes back to the whole good idea / bad idea thing. As far as punitive to get McD's to not do this again - fine. Then, since it wasn't about money - donate it to a children's burn unit - the Shriners have several.

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 5:36 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • Hot is hot. Temperature means nothing to me.
    I see coffee, I think if it spills it will burn me. So I avoid putting myself in a position where that might occur.

    If she bumped it as she put her stuff in and it burned her than its her clumsiness that resulted in the burns. Most coffee(if not all) that you buy from fast food joints say caution:hot(which I think is silly since most ppl with brains know what hot is but it saves the company).

    No, I wouldnt sue over something like that. If it was a different situation then I might have. Some things just happen and I bet she was mad it burned her than her lawyer went after the temp readings as their way to win the suit.

    Answer by BonesDragonDew at 5:36 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • I think this woman was wrong to place something potentially hot enough to cause burns between her legs in the first place! And when she did...well, too bad! Should McDonald's have to put a stupid "consumer warning" on their coffee cups (beyond the contents could be hot) the ones that tell people not to use a hairdryer in the bathtub?! LOL

    Look at the warnings on cigarette packages (and in European countries they actually have negative images on them!), and how many people START smoking nowadays...warnings are only effective when you have !

    Sadly, personal responsibility has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur!

    Answer by LoriKeet at 5:40 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • But, unfortunately, people see lawsuits as a way to make a quick buck. Frivolous lawsuits hurt all of us, they see it as a way to make a buck, they tie up an overburdened court system, the costs are absorbed by the general public in the trickle down effect of insurance, etc. (Not to mention wages of court employees to handle these cases). Too many people see things like this, and see that she made a fortune, and use it as encouragement to pass the buck on personal responsibility while trying to earn a quick buck from someone else on something that is often based just as much on their own poor choices as they are on the irresponsible actions of someone else.

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 5:41 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • Don't blame the plaintiff, blame the lawyer(s) who will take anything to court.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:51 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • She didn't win millions.

    Answer by lizzeh at 5:52 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

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