The real full story of the McDonalds coffee spill…

 In Personal Injury

Almost everyone remembers the headline but how many of us really know the facts? I’m talking about the case that really kicked the off the anti-lawsuit movement, the McDonald’s coffee case. Way back in 1994 the country and the world were outraged when a jury awarded an 81 year old New Mexico woman $2.9 Million dollars for spilling coffee on herself. As the story got repeated in the media, the facts of the case got twisted until what became the generally accepted version of events bore little resemblance to the actual events. Stella Liebeck was the passenger in a car in New Mexico who had ordered a cup of coffee at McDonald’s. She put the cup between her knees and took the lid off. In the process she spilled the coffee on herself. The 180-190 degree (FYI water boils at 212 degrees) coffee soaked into her sweatsuit and pooled in her seat and as a result suffered 3rd degree burns over 16% of her body and required skin grafts (warning the graphic pictures of the burns and grafts are around the 7:10 mark of the video). All told Ms. Liebeck ended up with $10,000 in medical bills from the incident. Prior to filing suit Ms. Liebeck sent several letters to McDonalds asking them to lower the temperature of their coffee and pay for her medical expenses. During the course of the case it was discovered that hot coffee spills had injured over 700 people in a 9 year span. McDonalds defense in this case was basically that the coffee temperature was an industry standard and so what if a few people get burned (1 in about 24 million cups of coffee served). A final note the $2.9 Million was later reduced to $650,000. You can view the video here:

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