In the current fast food lawsuit thread:
the subject of the infamous coffee lawsuit came up. I know this has been debated to death in the past - here for example:
but I think it warrants further discussion.
In the fast food lawsuit thread, a link was posted to this site:
Here’s the problem I have with the “law and help” website: They identify themselves as:
*Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, medical malpractice, wrongful death, auto accident and personal injury attorneys and lawyers dedicated to vigorously representing the injured. *
Hardly impartial. And I see quite a few problems with their “facts”. Let’s go through them one by one:
That’s not a fact, it’s an opinion. The trial lawyers who wrote the article want you to believe that hot coffee is a problem. Speaking as a consumer, I like my coffee to be hot. I don’t just want it lukewarm, where I could chug the whole cup right there at the restaurant without discomfort. I want it hot, as in if I get it To Go, it will still be hot when I get home. Also, I found quite a few websites that make the point that if coffee is brewed at less than optimum temperature, it does not extract the full flavor of the coffee beans. Links appear later in this post.
700 complaints - sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? That’s the problem with using absolute numbers when you should really be using percentages - it’s misleading. Let’s skip to “Fact” No. 6:
They say 700 incidents have been settled by the corporation in 10 years. O.K., the corporation sells 1 billion cups of coffee a year. That’s BILLION, with a “B”. In 10 years, they sell 10 billion cups of coffee, with 700 complaints in the same time period. Still sound like a lot? To me, 700 out of 10 billion would constitute a NEGLIGIBLE number of complaints. I wonder how many complaints they got that the coffee was not hot enough? I’d be willing to bet it was more than 700. Who were they supposed to listen to?
Yes, and that was tragic. But the fact remains that you are not supposed to pour the coffee on your groin. Here’s an interesting note, and I wish I had a cite, but unfortunately I don’t, because it was read orally from an article in a lecture I attended: The woman in this case claims that the driver of the car drove away from the restaurant, then stopped, at which time she took the lid off of the coffee. That really sounds like a lie to me. Why would you drive for awhile and THEN stop to fix your coffee? Any reasonable person would stop immediately upon exiting the drive-through. I suspect that she did it while the car was moving, but changed the story to increase her chances of winning the suit.
But SHE’s the one who spilled the coffee - why should they have had to pay her medical bills for something that was her fault?
Somehow I doubt he phrased it that way when he testified. Anyone have access to a transcript from the trial? I find it highly unlikely that a representative of McDonald’s took the stand and admitted that they served their coffee too hot just to be evil.
Which just tends to prove that the jury award was ridiculous.
So McDonald’s served coffee at 185 degrees, which can burn skin. But is that too hot to be serving coffee? According to this study, coffee shops serve the beverage at a higher temperature than that at which it is consumed, because it cools before you drink it:
This site recommends 195-205 degrees as the optimum brewing temperature:
Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t know that if you take coffee straight out of the pot and pour it directly on your skin, that it will burn you? The thing is, coffee cools fairly quickly. Most people don’t buy the coffee and then immediately run to a table and chug it down. It might be 10 or 15 minutes later that you actually drink it, and you want it to still be warm. In addition, coffee that is brewed at too low a temperature results in an inferior product. The consequence of this lawsuit is that, because of one unfortunate accident out of BILLIONS of cups of coffee being drunk without injury, I now have to drink nasty lukewarm coffee whenever I go out, because every restaurant is now afraid to serve it hot.
Sorry to dredge this up again, but it seems that these specious “facts” from the Law and Help website are still being accepted as absolute truth. I welcome your comments, arguments, flames, etc.