A personal reflection on Liebeck v McDonalds

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Liebeck V. McDonalds: An Annoyance The McDonald’s hot coffee case is an event that most Americans claim to know about but many actually are unware of the facts. When I first heard about this lawsuit, I was working in a restaurant that ironically served a lot of coffee. I was eavesdropping on the server line and overheard a fellow employee’s comment, “did you hear about the lady who sued McDonald’s because she spilt coffee on herself, apparently she won a bunch of money; I wish I could just go around suing people because I’m stupid.” Fortunately, for me, I didn’t care at the time to hear much of their story, nor did I care about the story at all. As the years went by, I didn’t hear much about it anymore until I stumbled across a documentary called “Hot Coffee” on Netflix. It was the first lawsuit mentioned in this documentary along with a few others that pointed out the downside of tort reform. The McDonald’s case, as I soon learned was nothing as my co-workers had mentioned, but of course, this was years ago. I was certain that by 2014, surely the facts of the McDonald’s hot coffee case had been distributed and everyone knew it was indeed not a frivolous lawsuit. I was proven quite wrong when just last week, a co-worker of mine was rattling on about her idea of “stupid” lawsuits and she mentioned “well I suppose you can sue anybody these days, I mean you can even sue McDonalds over hot coffee!” Upon that note, I had no choice but to inform her that the McDonald’s case was indeed a legitimate suit. She preceded to say, “Coffee is supposed to be hot, so what then, can you sue for cold coffee?” Technically, she wasn’t wrong, coffee is supposed to hot, but then again, coffee isn’t supposed to cause third degree burns either, or hospitalize you for eight days. My annoyance a little pushed responded to my co-worker, “I don’t see why not, I suppose if cold coffee was to cause you serious physical injury, then why not!” Moving on, as I proceeded my research I learned more shocking facts of this world wide known lawsuit, as well as how it became so distorted. It all started in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Feb 27th, 1992 when 79 year old Grandma Liebeck ordered a .49 cent cup of coffee from a McDonald’s drive through. Little did she know that this .49 cent cup of coffee would end up costing her $11,000. She was sitting in the passenger’s seat when her grandson, Chris, parked the car in the McDonald’s parking lot so she could add sugar and cream to her coffee. She placed the cup between her knees and began pulling the lid towards her to remove it. In the process of doing so, she spilled the entire cup on her lap. She was wearing cotton sweatpants which is a fabric prone to absorb great amount of liquid quickly;

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