One of the biggest issues facing injured victims is the public perception of claimants left over from the McDonald’s Hot Coffee case. The case has been the poster-case for lawsuit abuse, etc.
Those of us involved in the system have always known the truth:
– that Ms. Liebeck had third degree burns on her legs and groin area
–that the McDonald’s served the coffee at a temperature significantly higher than industry standard (about 30 degrees hotter than any home coffee machine can reach)
– that McDonald’s knew they served it hot and had received warnings about the danger from the temperature, to the tune of complaints from over 700 people prior to her incident
–that Stella Liebeck, the plaintiff, offered to settle the case for the cost of her medical bills, approximately $2,000
–that the actual damages awarded were under $200,o00
–that the punitive damage award, which received the bulk of the attention, was a number the jury picked because it was 2 days of coffee sales for McDonald’s, and the judge significantly reduced that amount
None of those facts were put forth in the public media — until now.
The New York Times did a wonderful video story this week that really looked into the facts.
If you have any interest in civil justice issues, I urge you to take the few minutes to watch the video here.