someone needs to turn down that sass level
Two things to know about Canada!
- We are smart enough to know hot things should be hot.
- We are sorry if you don’t
fun story about the reason they do that (at least in America)
once this lady spilled her McDonald’s coffee on herself and ended up getting like 3rd degree burns and since there was no warning on the cup she was able to claim she didn’t know it would be hot (or at least that hot) and won a lawsuit against McDonald’s for $1 million
That’s what the media smear campaign against her would have you believe, anyway. The truth of the matter is that the McDonald’s in question had previously been cited - on at least two separate occasions - for keeping their coffee so hot that it violated local occupational health and safety regulations. The lady didn’t win her lawsuit because American courts are stupid; she won it because the McDonald’s she bought that coffee from was actively and knowingly breaking the law with respect to the temperature of its coffee at the time of the incident.
(I mean, do you have any idea what a third-degree burn actually is? Third-degree burns involve “full thickness” tissue damage; we’re talking bone-deep, with possible destruction of tissue. Can you even imagine how hot that cup of coffee would have to have been to inflict that kind of damage in the few seconds it was in contact with her skin?)
Yeah I’m tired of people joking about either the “stupid” woman who didn’t know coffee was hot or the “greedy” woman making up bullshit to get money.
She was hideously injured by hideous irresponsibility, it was an absolutely legitimate lawsuit and the warning on the cups basically allows McDonalds to claim no responsibility even if it happens again. Every other company followed suit to cover their asses.
So they can still legally serve you something that could sear off the end of your tongue or permanently demolish the front of your gums and just give you a big fat middle finger in court. “The label SAID it would be HOT, STUPID.”
obligatory reblog for the great debunking of the usual ignorance spouted about this case
obligatory mention that the media smear campaign to twist teh facts on this case and get public opinion against the victim was deliberate and fueled by the right wing tort reform movement
it was seized upon to limit the rights of consumers to hold giant corporations accountable for wrongdoing
watch the documentary Hot Coffee, it lays out all of the facts and examines the response to this case and explains why everything you think you know about this case is bullshit, and explains why tort reform is bullshit in an entertaining and informative manner
The woman injured in Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants was 79 years old at the time of her injuries, and suffered third-degree burns to the pelvic region (including her thighs, buttocks, and groin), which in combination with lesser burns in the surrounding regions caused damage to an area totaling a whopping 22% of her body’s surface. These injuries that required two years of intensive medical care, including multiple skin grafts; during her hospitalization, Stella Liebeck lost around 20% of her starting body weight.
She was uninsured and sued McDonald’s Restaurants for the cost of her past and projected future medical care, an estimated $20,000. The corporation offered a settlement of $800, a number so obviously ridiculous that I’m not even going to dignify it with any further explanation.
The settlement number most often quoted is not the amount that the corporation actually paid; the jury in the first trial suggested a payment equal to a day or two of coffee revenues for McDonald’s, which at the time totaled more than $1 million per diem. The judge reduced the required payout to around $640,000 in both compensatory and punitive damages, and the case was later settled out of court for less than $600,000.
Keep in mind that at the time, McDonald’s already had over 700 cases of complaints about coffee-related burns on file, but continued to sell coffee heated to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit (around 90 degrees Celsius) as a means of boosting sales (their selling point was that one could buy the coffee, drive to a second location such as work or home, and still have a piping hot beverage). This in spite of the fact that most restaurants serve coffee between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 71 degrees Celsius), and many coffee experts agree that such high temperatures are desirable only during the brewing process itself.
The Liebeck case was absolutely not an example of litigation-happy Americans expecting corporations to cover their asses for their own stupidity, but we seem determined to remember it that way. It’s an issue of liability, and the allowable lengths of capitalism, and even of the way in which our society is incredibly dangerous for and punitive towards the uninsured, but it was not and is not a frivolous suit. Please check your assumptions and do your research before you turn a burn victim’s suffering into a throwaway punchline.
#don’t fricking get me started on Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants the level of misinformation floating around is staggering#I know that it’s an older case but it still makes me really mad that people treat it as this big dumb thing?#the fact that the media took a serious case and turned it into what it is to us today should piss people off#the level of distortion of facts is astonishing and upsetting and nobody seems to hear about it?#sorry I’m done I just#it upsets me when a legal travesty like this is just dragged out for some#’haha americans are sOOOOOOOo dumb!!1!’ humor#I MEAN GODDAMN IF YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE FUN OF AMERICANS AT LEAST MAKE FUN OF US WITH FACTS OKAY
jesus, i actually didn’t know about any of this, thanks for clearing that up
So someone mentioned the documentary Hot Coffee, which I watched just last night, and I want to share some tidbits with you:
In the US, people’s right to sue has been getting steadily eroded and things like making people believe the hot coffee case were frivolous are part of it. That’s how they get people to actually vote for limitations on their own rights to sue, or for caps on damages, when in fact ‘tort reform’ laws usually end up, e.g., reducing the amount you can get in a malpractice suit.
And there’s also a lot of sneaky shit like people unknowingly signing away their right to sue in the fine print (or being told they have in a ‘supplementary package’ of fine print delivered to them AFTER they signed the contract), and ending up in ‘binding mandatory arbitration’. You’ve probably signed dozens of contracts like this, e.g., for your cellphone and credit card. You have basically ‘agreed’ that is you have any dispute for any reason you cannot sue for damages, you have to have a secret meaning with an arbitrator hired by the person / entity that harmed you to act as judge.
There was some really striking examples in the documentary. One was a kid born with severe brain damage because he wasn’t delivered properly, resulting in oxygen deprivation for about 8 minutes during birth; professional estimates for his cost of living (including numerous surgeries and physical therapy, starting at just one year old) for the rest of his life was about $6 million. The jury awarded $5.6. That’s doable, right?
Well, except in that state (Nebraska) there was an award cap of $1.25 million, which, after paying legal bills and the already accrued medical expenses, left the kid with just a few hundred thousand. So, he’s now on medicaid to pay for his therapy, surgeries, and basic living expenses. The cost of his treatment has basically been transferred to the taxpayer, and should anything happen to his parents they have no idea what would happen to him or who would take care of him.
Another was a Haliburton employee who went to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Miss Jamie Leigh Jones. (Warning for the next paragraph: discussion of rape.)
Long story short: she was lied to about her accommodations and ended up housed in barrack with 400 men. She was sexually harassed and threatened. She complained about it, twice, and was told she’d ‘get over it’. She ended up being drugged and gang raped. She needed reconstructive surgery for anal and vaginal tearing. What do you think happened next?
She was locked in a shipping container with two armed guards for days, until one of them, out of sympathy and in defiance of orders, let her borrow his cellphone. She called her father who called some congressman and got her out of there.
She then spent 4 years fighting for her day in court, because unbeknownst to her she’d signed a binding mandatory arbitration agreement. She was 19 when all of this happened.
So, conclusion: the myth of frivolous lawsuits is kinda like the myth of the welfare queen. There have probably been a few that occurred sometime, somewhere, sure, but I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find them. Most people who file a suit have damn good reasons, and if they don’t the suit usually gets thrown out of court by a judge before they even waste time assembling a jury.
(Oh, another bit of shady shit discussed in the movies: big businesses trying to influence judge elections, or defame / dethrone already elected judges, if it seems they’re actually in favour of the common people’s right to civil litigation. During Judge Oliver Diaz’s election, he was subject to a massive, multi-million dollar smear campaign. When he won anyway, he was subject to another smear campaign: because a friend had co-signed a loan with him, he was accused of accepting a bribe, even though he had never presided on any case having to do with this friend or his law firm. In effect, his reputation was ruined and he couldn’t get elected again. This was not an isolated incident.)
Meanwhile, laws and ‘reforms’ to curb ‘litigation abuse’ do more harm than good. If you hear a politician talking about ‘lawsuit lotteries’ and a need for ‘tort reform’, think of Reagan talking about ‘welfare queens’; think about how the vast majority of people on welfare do, desperately, need it.
What we’re really looking at is people eroding our social safety net, because they’re lucky / wealthy enough to view it as inconvenient.