From: "Marciosos8 Probertiosos8"
Subject: Re: Myths about the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit (was: Re: Can this mother win this lawsuit?)
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1158
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 13:56:19 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 08:56:19 EST
Organization: Optimum Online
"Jonathan Kamens" wrote in message
> Wizard57M@SurfBest.net (Glenn Gilbreath Jr.) writes:
> >And let's not forget that our legal system is getting a rather
> >infamous reputation for making illogical decisions...I mean,
> >come on, awarding some lady 3 million dollars for spilling hot
> >coffee in her crotch!
> People on the rag about our out-of-control legal system frequently
> bring up this case as their poster child of ridiculous law suits, but
> when doing so, they fail to mention the context of the case.
> Coffee that is hot enough to cause second-degree burns when spilled on
> someone's lap is too hot.
> The McDonald's which was sued after this particular incident had a
> history, on the record, of people being injured by its coffee, of
> many people complaining that its coffee was too hot. It failed to
> take any steps to address the situation.
> The high damages in this particular case were not intended to
> compensate the victim as much as they were intended to make McDonald's
> "feel the pain" for its negligent behavior. Given its huge income, it
> would not have felt any pain from a small award. Punishing the
> offender, not rewarding the victim, is the point of punitive damages.
> >Too bad people can't be held responsible for their own actions,
> >but rather seek to blame someone else for everything that might
> >possibly occur.
> I don't disagree with you that our culture of blame has gotten out of
> control. But the McDonald's case you referenced isn't necessarily a
> good example of that.
You are absolutely correct in you analysis of this case (you must have been
reading my old posts on this subject). McDonald's was surely on notice that
they had a major problem with regard to the excessively high temperature
that the coffee was brewed and served it. They brewed it at those
temperatures for purely economic reasons, and the jury said that they
deserved to be hit hard for their attitude.
One of the responses that has been made is that it is just 20 degrees above
the usual brewing temperature. However, according to a friend of mine, who
is a reconstructive plastic surgeon, temperature is related to potential
injury logarithmically. He has even identified another potential source of
problems. If you care to, email me for additional information at