OK, like us, here at coffee central, we know that you’ve all heard about the silliest lawsuit ever, the one that kick-started all of the goofy lawsuits you’ve ever heard about. Yep, it’s the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit. you know the one, where some addled grandmother spilled a cup of hot coffee on herself and then sued McDonald’s a bazillion dollars because somehow it didn’t occur to her that the coffee was actually, you know, hot.
Too bad that hardly any of that information is true.
Yes, a grandmother did spill coffee on herself that had been served by McDonald’s but as for the rest, well, let’s just say that there is more to that story than you might have heard. First of all, most coffee (especially coffee you make and serve at home heats up to around 140 degrees. The Mcd’s coffee had been heated to around 190 something of a significant difference). Plus, the grandmother in question had repeatedly asked for compensation in much smaller amounts which the lawyers from Micky D’s routinely scoffed at and ignored. Plus, when they finally got to court, it was revealed that “upwards of 700 customers” had already filed similar suits against the clown house in previous years, all of which MCD also ignored, because the complaints amounted to “were only one for every 24 million cups of coffee sold.” (Not exactly the argument you want to give in court, in front of a jury while an injured grandmother is sitting in front of you.)
Finally, the jury granted the woman $160,000 in damages punitive damages against McDonald’s for $2.7 million. The judge reduced the punitive damages to $480,000, and the two eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Regardless of where you stand on the merits of Liebeck’s legal case, it’s hard to deny the sweep of the infamous “coffee case.” McDonald’s now serves its coffee in a lower temperature range, and the warnings about the dangers of hot liquids seem to grow continuously. Liebeck died in 2004 at the age of 91, three years before McDonald’s added iced coffee to its menu.
You can read the details to this suit here.
Man do we love coffee.