This case was brought upon by an older lady by the name Stella Liebeck, who purchased a 49 cent cup of coffee at the New Mexico franchise. She purchased it through the drive-thru and while her grand son drove, she opened the lid while the cup was between legs to add sugar and cream. The opening of the lid was that action that caused as serious problem for McDonald's, by doing so she spilled coffee on her lap. Even though coffee is know to be hot this one was a little more than hot, Mrs. Liebeck endured third degree burns form it. Since the coffee was directly on her lap the burns where in highly sensitive areas of her body. Her burns were so sever that the covered six percent of her body, and hospitalized her for eight days. She contacted McDonald's with intend to collect and settle for $20,000, but McDonalds refused, which drove to file in court.
McDonald's was contacted by the plaintiff, who wanted to settle out of court. McDonald's who had experienced the same type of case 700 times before, with the exception that this was a 79 year old lady. The fact that McDonald's had evaded justice so many times added to their confidence, but the age of the plaintiff and the circumstances of the incident also mislead them to think that a jury would be on their side. The fact that Mrs. Liebeck was 79 at the time was something McDonald's used to assume that her age had a role in the extent of her injuries. The fact that she was in a vehicle helped them assumed that she was driving at the time of the accident. Unlike like McDonald's, Mrs. Liebeck knew she had a case and proceeded to file in court when her offer was rejected.
The case began and with it the exposure of McDonald's seven hundred prior claims with similar injuries from coffee. During the process of discovery a McDonald's employee testified that the coffee was indeed served at temperatures exceeding 180 degrees. According to the same employee this was done with the assumption that consumers were buying coffee...
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