OT: McDonald's coffee lawsuit facts, was Why Do GOP...

OPPORTUNISTS AND ) SELF-DESCRIBED VICTIMS ) ) StellaAwards.com Plaintiffs, )
) pleading before the vs. ) ) Court Of Public Opinion ANY AVAILABLE DEEP POCKETS ) AND THE U.S. JUSTICE SYSTEM ) Stipulates the Facts from ) Defendants. ) The "real" Stella's Case _____________________________)
May it please the court: We know quite well that not all of the cases we present will turn out to be frivolous abuse of the American Justice System. Many of these cases indeed involve real issues, real injuries, and deserve real compensation. And some don't. That's why we stress that you should read the cases before you judge.
How about, for instance, Stella herself? Much of the coverage about Stella Liebeck has been grossly unfair. When you have a more complete summary of the facts, you might change your mind about her. Or maybe not -- that's up to you. Did you know the following aspects of the Stella vs. McDonald's case?
Stella was not driving when she pulled the lid off her scalding McDonald's coffee. Her grandson was driving the car, and he had pulled over to stop so she could add cream and sugar to the cup. Stella was burned badly (some sources say six percent of her skin was burned, other sources say 16 percent was) and needed two years of treatment and rehabilitation, including skin grafts. McDonald's refused an offer to settle with her for $20,000 in medical costs. McDonald's quality control managers specified that its coffee should be served at 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit. Liquids at that temperature can cause third-degree burns in 2-7 seconds. Such burns require skin grafting, debridement and whirlpool treatments to heal, and the resulting scarring is typically permanent. From 1982 to 1992, McDonald's coffee burned more than 700 people, usually slightly but sometimes seriously, resulting in some number of other claims and lawsuits. Witnesses for McDonald's admitted in court that consumers are unaware of the extent of the risk of serious burns from spilled coffee served at McDonald's required temperature, admitted that it did not warn customers of this risk, could offer no explanation as to why it did not, and testified that it did not intend to turn down the heat even though it admitted that its coffee is "not fit for consumption" when sold because it is too hot. While Stella was awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages, this amount was reduced by 20 percent (to $160,000) because the jury found her 20 percent at fault. Where did the rest of the $2.9 million figure in? She was awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages -- but the judge later reduced that amount to $480,000, or three times the "actual" damages that were awarded. But...
The resulting $640,000 isn't the end either. Liebeck and McDonald's entered into secret settlement negotiations rather than go to appeal. The amount of the settlement is not known -- it's secret! The plaintiffs were apparently able to document 700 cases of burns from McDonald's coffee over 10 years, or 70 burns per year. But that doesn't take into account how many cups are sold without incident. A McDonald's consultant pointed out the 700 cases in 10 years represents just 1 injury per 24 million cups sold! For every injury, no matter how severe, 23,999,999 people managed to drink their coffee without any injury whatever. Isn't that proof that the coffee is not "unreasonably dangerous"? Even in the eyes of an obviously sympathetic jury, Stella was judged to be 20 percent at fault -- she did, after all, spill the coffee into her lap all by herself. The car was stopped, so she presumably was not bumped to cause the spill. Indeed she chose to hold the coffee cup between her knees instead of any number of safer locations as she opened it. Should she have taken more responsibility for her own actions? And...
Here's the Kicker: Coffee is supposed to be served in the range of 185 degrees! The National Coffee Association recommends coffee be brewed at "between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction" and drunk "immediately". If not drunk immediately, it should be "maintained at 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit". (Source: NCAUSA.) Exactly what, then, did McDonald's do wrong? Did it exhibit "willful, wanton, reckless or malicious conduct" -- the standard in New Mexico for awarding punitive damages? The Court of Public Opinion has also issued its verdict: Stella has become an American icon. Rightly or wrongly, she is a symbol of the American Tort system gone wrong, and most have heard of her case -- and have an opinion on it. For more than 10 years, the term "Stella Award" has been used to refer to any lawsuit that sounds outrageous. Because of this huge name recognition, we chose to continue the name that has captured the public's attention like no other: "Stella Awards". But rather than use fabricated stories to illustrate a real problem, our goal is to legitimize the "Stella Awards" name by reporting real case stories (in the This is True tradition) to get the point across much more powerfully.
Abuse of the system is going on, and sometimes judges and juries greviously err and set terrible precedents. We'll be reporting the cases by e-mail. So if you haven't signed up for your free subscription to the Stella Awards, you can do that right here:
Subscribe for Free And get True Stella Awards case writeups as they are issued. Enter your complete Internet e-mail address (e.g., snipped-for-privacy@aol.com) here:
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Before pressing the button, check here if you'd also like to subscribe to our sister publication This is True, featuring strange-but-true news items once each weekend.
Submitted by: StellaAwards.com, In Pro Per
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I still haven't heard how she spilled it but holding it between ones knees is not acceptable practice. If indeed McD's serves coffee at that temp it is undrinkable and perhaps unsafe. If they refused to settle for 20g that's not smart either.
It all comes down to the stupefication of the public. And expecting someone with big pockets to pay for your mistakes. Cheers,
The Keeper (of too much crap!)
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Basically this just sums up Dumb F*ing Yanks who will sue for anything even if was their own fault...If it was this country she would have been told to get the F*** out of court...sadly though because of American Culture more and more Brits are trying same here now...the only people getting rich are the Lawyers lining their own pockets....Good job we still have some Common Sense Judges on the bench who can see through these cases and award against the party trying to Sue.
God Help us if we become fully like America...that's the one bit you can stuff up yer ass...!!!
Mark.
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On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 01:36:34 +0100, "Mark Stevens"
You mean with an actual written Constitution including the right to bear arms and prohibiting royal titles? Things like that?
God save the Queen!
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Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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Mark Stevens wrote:

Right on Mark:
    I take it you are in England, where a burglar who got shot by a victim whom he had robbed multiple times is suing the victim on the grounds he has suffered extreme mental distress and can no longer practice his profession. And the Labor Government gave him the money to hire the lawyers!     Social warfare at it's best, down with the middle class. Kerry and Co. would love it!
                            Bill Shuey
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Mark Stevens wrote:

As opposed to say Lord Whatsit's whozit's up Commoner Wherezit's ass? Or would that be the royal tax collector's John Thomas up your paycheck's ass?
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You mean free, wealthy, powerful, the envy of civilization, and "the last, best hope of mankind"? Well, old son, if you don't want to be like that, I guess we can't force you. We'll just keep siphoning off your best and brightest and wish you Godspeed. Do wave at Her Majesty for me the next time the bus passes near Buckingham, there's a good chap.
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On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 05:52:23 GMT, "Guy N. LaFrance"

Heh.
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Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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Hmmm..."free"...yep, I'll buy that one; "wealthy"...well, some of you, anyway; "the envy of civilisation"... which civilisation would that be exactly???
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On 14-Oct-2004, snipped-for-privacy@austarmetro.com.au (James Venables) wrote:

If you want to get into a debate, come up with something better than that; otherwise, don't waste my time.
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yeah yeah...God save the queen...whoever he is
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comedy (Keeper) wrote:

It happens all the time. It's called car insurance. Health insurance. Homeowners insurance. I'm not talking about liability provisions either, just simple 1st-party claims, like when the guy cleaning his shotgun managed to blow a hole in his ceiling and roof (and also graze his forehead, but we didn't pay him for that). Or the teenager who dropped the tape cassette while driving, bent down to pick it up and took out her own parent's garage door and the front end of the car. And then there's all those smokers...
Mark Schynert
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Mark Schynert wrote:

You forgot a few incipient health problem types....drinkers, drug users, gays that don't use condoms, straights that don't use condoms, meat eaters, strict vegans, couch potatoes, sunbathers......there's probably quite a few bad habits I forgot, but they all are proven health risks and thus cause rising insurance rates.
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we need to do something about those air breathers too.It's so risky...
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<pedant> dihydrogen monoxide, actually, old boy :-) http://www.dhmo.org / <\pedant>
Damian
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That's where I thought he was going...
The Keeper (of too much crap!)
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we might want to get hydrogen peroxide too,between that and saline implants...
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