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JON9000
03-29-2003, 11:30 AM
We've all heard about it. Mainly because when somebody wants to bash trial lawyers, anecdotal evidence is all they have. As if a system that processes a gazillion cases should be judged by a couple of far out verdicts.

But was the McDonald's case so far out? What really happened? What should the armchair critics be aware of before they start ion on it?

What do you think about the case after reading this?

http://www.stellaawards.com/stella.html

Deoxyribonucleic
03-29-2003, 12:29 PM
Well, first of all, I signed up. :D

Second, I really don't know what to think. Obviously, it's really strange that a company would serve coffee so hot that even they say it's not drinkable . . . Hmmmm, isn't that saying something??

Also, it is very realistic that people spill coffee on their laps SO. . .if anything, at least they don't serve coffee so hot anymore and there's a warning on cups all over America now. :)

Exhaust Port
03-29-2003, 12:40 PM
Someone shouldn't be given money due to a personal accident. As the article states, millions of people drink McDonalds coffee every day and the most evidence they could come up with was 70 people each year got burned by spilling coffee on THEMSELVES. This person did this to THEMSELF.

No McDonalds employee was involved, it took place off of their property and she was holding the coffee between her legs in order to put creamer into it. Her lawyer had a point that McDonalds didn't verbally or show written warning that the coffee is hot, but so what? Coffee is hot by nature and whether it's served mildly hot or very hot it doesn't eliminate the responsibility of the buyer to not pour it on their own skin or at least take care.

In addition, being that those foam cups are pretty thin, how could it be that she had no indication that the contents were hot? Even a ceramic mug with hot contents will heat up. Would she have acted differently if the words "Contents maybe hot" were printed on the side? Hind sight would have her saying yes but we all know that things like that are ignored. They only get printed there in order to save their butt in lawsuits not warn people.

It comes down to common sense. You purchase a hot beverage you take care and not attempt to hold it between your legs for support. People who skip the common sense part shouldn't be compensated when they get injured.

stillakid
03-29-2003, 03:36 PM
I had another thread going for awhile about the seeming lack of common sense among the general populace.

For instance, I was watching a commercial the other day for a new GM SUV (or Lincoln or something). It starts out in the clouds as an airplane flies by. As it exits offscreen, this new truck emerges from the clouds and drives around the sky as if it could fly. No big deal right? But at the bottom of the screen in tiny letters, I could read the word "DRAMATIZATION." Do I need to say anymore? :rolleyes:

Kidhuman
03-29-2003, 05:44 PM
First off people wanna sue someone for everything. I guess it is the best get rich scheme going. Suing Mickey D's for an immbocilic move that the person did to themselves opened the door for tons of people. I remember hearing on the radio about stupid lawsuits. Here are some I remember

1. A person sued the owner of a house when they were away for a weekend. He broke into their house and got locked in the garage for 2 days. He sued and won.

2. A person trespassed on another persons property and got bit by their dog. Since there was no Beware of Dog sign, the person sued and won.

3. A man sued Hooters and won because they wouldn't hire him to be a waiter.


There were many others, but thats all I can dig out of my mind.

People suing eachother has got to stop. It is ruining society and the way we look at other people. I will admit I sued someone once, but for hitting me with their car. Stop this senseless bull and realize it was your own stupidity that caused you to get hurt. I mean I know she didn't order Ice Coffee. She had to have an inkling that it was hot. If she couldn't figure that one out than how did she get a drivers license?



Sorry, I rambled on a bit too much.

stillakid
03-30-2003, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by kidhuman

3. A man sued Hooters and won because they wouldn't hire him to be a waiter.




Government ends Hooters lawsuit

ASSOCIATED PRESS

http://www.kstatecollegian.com/issues/v100/sp/n144/aphooters-probe-14.html


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The government has quietly ended its four-year sexual discrimination probe of Hooters, coming to the same conclusion as its sometimes snickering critics have -- we have better things to do.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had demanded a $22-million fine from the 170-restaurant chain after looking into complaints by four Chicago men who said they were denied the chance to serve suds alongside buxom young waitresses.

The EEOC also wanted Hooters to hire male waiters, compensate any men it had turned down for jobs and set up a scholarship fund to enhance employment opportunities for men.

Ridiculous, said Rep. Harris Fawell, R-Ill., who had questioned the investigation, given the agency's limited financial resources and heavy caseload.

The EEOC wouldn't say how much it cost to conduct the investigation.

Columnists had a field day as Hooters fought both the EEOC and a private lawsuit filed by the men, asserting a constitutional right to have only females squeeze into its skimpy orange shorts and tight white shirts.

The chain even put out a mocking ad campaign that featured a burly, mustachioed man -- Vince Gigliotti, who manages a Hooters in Tampa -- wearing a blonde wig, short shorts, stuffed shirt and bedroom eyes.

The caption: "Come on, Washington. Get a grip."

The issue was a serious one, according to a March 6 letter from EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas to Fawell, chairman of a House subcommittee on employment. But, Casellas acknowledged, the agency did have more important matters to concentrate on.

"Denying any American a job simply because of his or her sex is a serious issue which should be taken seriously," Casellas wrote. "The particular factual issues raised by Hooters do not transform this into a frivolous case or a subject for locker-room humor."

But, Casellas added, since a private class-action lawsuit is pending, "it is wiser for the EEOC to devote its scarce litigation resources to other cases."

The response at the Tampa Hooters was mixed on Wednesday.

Gigliotti said his restaurant just wouldn't have been the same with men wearing the trademark uniforms. "Women don't look at guys the same way men look at women," he said.

But don't tell that to Mary Pinion, a mortgage broker across the room, having lunch with five of her female mortgage processors.

"Well, exactly how does he look at women?" Pinion asked. "Does he mean we don't lust after men the same way men lust after women? We sure do, if they're lustable."

Dorothy Frook, having lunch with her husband and his friend, nodded toward her waitress' tight orange shorts and said, "I'd like to see a guy in those."

But Frook's lunch partner, Charles Combs, who works down the street and comes in three times a week, said he'd stop if men were hired.

"The girls know how to take your order just right, and they talk to you just right," he said. "No guy can be friendly to me and make me want to come back."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article was published on Thursday, May 2, 1996

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 1996, Student Publications Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may be distributed electronically, provided it is distributed in its entirety and includes this notice. However, it cannot be reprinted without the express written permission of Student Publications Inc., Kansas State University.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



HOOTERS OF AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

https://www.classactionamerica.com/cases/case.asp?cid=920&categoryID=13

Amount At Issue: $12,000,000 Date Added to Site: 8/2/2001



$12 Million Award in Junk Fax Class Action
A Georgia jury has awarded nearly $12 million in a class action against the Hooters restaurant in Augusta, Georgia by 1,321 nearby residents who received unsolicited faxed advertisements for the eatery.

bobafrett
03-30-2003, 12:21 PM
The next time I spill an ice cold beverage from some fast food chain onto my lap, I'll sue for "shrinkage".

Seriously though, I was involved in a head on collision. It was the other persons fault, and I thought about sueing, even though I wasn't seriously hurt, other than scrapes from the seat belt, and some very minor neck pain. I even contacted an attorney but instead decided just to take the small amount they offered to for totaling my old Monte Carlo, plus I think they threw in some money for pain and suffering. I had to ride my bike most places for the next month or so, while I waited for the check. I figure it would have taken longer had I decided to sue the person who hit me, and the Lawyer would have taken a chunk of that money. I doubt I would have made enough to put me on "easy" street, and the person who hit me would have had a lot higher insurance rates.

Sentinel18725
03-30-2003, 12:36 PM
Our entire legal system is going down. These frivilous lawsuits affect us all. Pretty soon we will all be required to go out in big sumo wrestling suits and even scissors will have rounded edges and can't cut anything.

Health care is even worse now. Insurance rates are sky rocketing because of all the law suits.

Deoxyribonucleic
03-30-2003, 01:20 PM
EXT: Meteor Crater

LOC: Arizona, USA

MESSAGE:
This used to be a great and adventurous place to visit, until one day a lady (or we could call her a lawyer's sweet, sweet hussie) was walking on a trail that went all over and down inside the crater (cool huh, down inside the crater? Yeah I think so too.) and OOPS, she sprained her ankle. Well, accidents happen, she tripped over her own feet. Everything's ok right? WRONG!

CONCLUSION:
This sweet, sweet lawyer's hussie SUED the state of Arizona parks dept and now, no longer, can one frolic around and down inside the meteor crater. Instead, one must stand, behind a cagelike fence and view from afar this amazing "take place-ance"

END

JediTricks
03-30-2003, 08:12 PM
This was awarded not because of a particular employee's fault, but because of a McDonald's policy to keep the coffee at an unreasonably high temperature which isn't even safe for immediate consumption. "Caution, contents are hot" is put on some fast-food coffee cups now, but it doesn't really warn that the contents are scalding hot and well above human tolerances. It's not reasonable to expect a beverage sold for immediate consumption to be at near-boiling temperatures.

Foam cups transfer less heat than ceramic ones by quite a large margin due to insulating properties of the material, go fill a ceramic cup with boiling water and hold it in your hands - it will be ridiculously hot in a matter of seconds and will probably even burn you. However, take a cheapo disposable foam coffee cup and fill it with the boiling water and it'll take longer to heat up to the touch and the outside temperature won't get anywhere near boiling before the water cools to safe levels.


Originally posted by kidhuman
1. A person sued the owner of a house when they were away for a weekend. He broke into their house and got locked in the garage for 2 days. He sued and won.

2. A person trespassed on another persons property and got bit by their dog. Since there was no Beware of Dog sign, the person sued and won. Except neither of these are true, read the third and fourth ones on this page: http://www.stellaawards.com/bogus.html


Originally posted by bobafrett
The next time I spill an ice cold beverage from some fast food chain onto my lap, I'll sue for "shrinkage". Unless the ice in your drink is served at a dangerous, sub-zero temperature which causes burns to your skin upon contact, your comparison has no validity.


Originally posted by bobafrett
Seriously though, I was involved in a head on collision. It was the other persons fault, and I thought about sueing, even though I wasn't seriously hurt, other than scrapes from the seat belt, and some very minor neck pain. I even contacted an attorney but instead decided just to take the small amount they offered to for totaling my old Monte Carlo, plus I think they threw in some money for pain and suffering. I had to ride my bike most places for the next month or so, while I waited for the check. I figure it would have taken longer had I decided to sue the person who hit me, and the Lawyer would have taken a chunk of that money. I doubt I would have made enough to put me on "easy" street, and the person who hit me would have had a lot higher insurance rates. If you hire a lawyer and win the case, your lawyer doesn't get a cut of your money, the money awarded to you is 1/3rd larger to accomodate your lawyer's fees.

The time you spent riding your bike is time that the insurance company should have paid for, or do you not feel your time is valuable?

Let's say you had been in a bumper-to-bumper accident that was totally someone else's fault: the Monte Carlo's bumper system, like almost every other car out there, is likely designed to only handle an impact of 3 to 6 miles per hour - anything over that uses the bumper up. Do you want to drive around with an unsafe bumper? Do you want to pay for a qualified mechanic to inspect your bumper to make sure it still works properly? If the mechanic finds a problem resulting from this accident, do you want to pay for the new bumper and its installation?


I'm not saying there are no frivolous lawsuits, but when we don't take into account all the facts and issues associated with a case, instead making snap judgements about the merits of a legal case we're not involved with and applying those suppositions and opinions towards the failings of the American legal system, we ourselves are contributing to the problems of the system.

bobafrett
03-30-2003, 11:29 PM
Well here's a picture of my wrecked Monte Carlo, but that was six years ago, and I already settled, so it's a mute point now. As far as the lawsuit for a cold drink on my lap, it was a sarcastic joke because of all the frivilous lawsuits.

My hair in the picture was from my attempt to make my hair blonde. At least that grew out.

Kidhuman
03-31-2003, 09:43 AM
Well thanks JT, like I sqaid I had only heard them on radio news a year or two ago. Sounds believeable given the way people will sue for anything these days.

JON9000
03-31-2003, 12:17 PM
Does anyone remember the part in "Fight Club" where Ed Norton goes over the process by which automobile manufacturers decide to issue a recall or not? If the cost of doing a recall is more than what the company calculates it will lose through lawsuits due to the defect, the recall is not issued.

This calculus is used throughout the business world in determining what safety measures should be in place. With that in mind, perhaps these verdicts are not so outrageous. They simply force manufacturers to make a safer product, or adjust their assesments of risk? In other words, perhaps McDonald's will make its coffee not so hot as to cause 3rd degree burns when spilled, due to the lawsuit.

Perhaps lawsuits complaining that a major soft drink maker engages in racial discrimination in its employment practices will make the cost the company so much money that the board of directors will finally get serious about stopping it.

If these suits served no social purpose, perhaps they would not be here?

RooJay
03-31-2003, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by kidhuman
how did she get a drivers license?

I have a theory that most people nowadays seem to be getting their licenses out of cereal boxes, or perhaps as minor prizes in soft drink contests.

Exhaust Port
03-31-2003, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by JediTricks
This was awarded not because of a particular employee's fault, but because of a McDonald's policy to keep the coffee at an unreasonably high temperature which isn't even safe for immediate consumption.

If accidental burns by hot coffee at McDonalds only occurs 70 times a year then who's to say that that temperature is Unreasonable? It's probably a safe bet that those 70 people are a fraction of one percent of the total people who purchase McD's coffee.

What caused her injury was an accident caused on her part. Her injuries weren't cause by normal consumption but by dumping the cup contents on her lap. At no point in the information provided did she indicate that she was not aware that coffee wasn't hot. By carelessly holding a cup of coffee between you legs gives the impression that she thought that the coffee was safe to spill on ones skin. If she didn't, then she assumed that the risk of spilling the coffee on herself was a reasonable risk. By making that assumption, she should bear the responsiblity for the results.

If you assume that the stove top is cold and place your hand flat on the burners surface without making sure then that's your fault. It's not the fault of the maker for not standing over your shoulder warning to double check the temperature before you do something so bold. She's an adult, part of being an adult is assuming responsibilty for your own actions and not looking to blame others when you do something stupid.

bobafrett
03-31-2003, 11:49 PM
That reminds me of a time I was driving this lady I was dating at the time, to work. I had a can of soda in my hand, and I went to make this turn, driving with the soda in the same hand that I had on the wheel. As I turned right, the soda can ended up dumping it's contents onto her lap, which made me almost have an accident from laughing my butt off! The fact that she was yelling and hitting me didn't make controling the car that much easier either.

JediTricks
04-01-2003, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by bobafrett
Well here's a picture of my wrecked Monte Carlo, but that was six years ago, and I already settled, so it's a mute point now. As far as the lawsuit for a cold drink on my lap, it was a sarcastic joke because of all the frivilous lawsuits. But is it a "moot" point as well? :D Looks like a pretty bad accident, certainly fast enough to give you muscle and joint damage which could lead to permanent headaches down the road if not properly treated by a GOOD doctor (there are a lot of quacks out there that'll simply open you up for surgery and then not even do anything once inside simply to collect a fee).

I know you were making a sarcastic comment, but a lot of people think that way, that this woman was simply minorly inconvenienced through something that was entirely her fault when that's not the case at all.


Originally posted by Exhaust Port
If accidental burns by hot coffee at McDonalds only occurs 70 times a year then who's to say that that temperature is Unreasonable? According to the article sourced as the opening to this thread, medical science does: "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." As well as McDonalds' own witnesses who admitted 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."


Originally posted by Exhaust Port
If you assume that the stove top is cold and place your hand flat on the burners surface without making sure then that's your fault. It's not the fault of the maker for not standing over your shoulder warning to double check the temperature before you do something so bold. She's an adult, part of being an adult is assuming responsibilty for your own actions and not looking to blame others when you do something stupid. I think that's an unfair comparison. The burners on the stove are clearly meant to be unsafe to human flesh and aren't meant to be used this way, the coffee in her cup she thought was immediately safe for human use wasn't - lots of people have spilled hot beverages on themselves without getting burned because hot beverages are supposed to be served at a temperature that isn't unsafe for that person to drink, much less touch.

Of course this is partially her fault and the jury even said so (20% her fault), but if the drink she was served was given to her at a reasonable temperature, she wouldn't have had a case OR have received 3rd degree burns.

QLD
04-01-2003, 05:28 PM
I like coffee....


.......In My Pants!

Deoxyribonucleic
04-01-2003, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by Lando In My Pants
I like coffee....


.......In My Pants!

Hey, coffee's my favorite!!!




Originally posted by Jedi Tricks
there are a lot of quacks out there that'll simply open you up for surgery and then not even do anything once inside simply to collect a fee.


except leave a junior mint inside :D

plasticfetish
04-01-2003, 06:03 PM
Originally posted by Lando In My Pants
I like coffee....
.......In My Pants!
Who ARE you?

McDonald's coffee always has been brutally hot. The only time I drink it is during long drives across country ... usually I'd ask for 20 creamers to make it drinkable. As far as dumping it on my "lap" and wanting to sue ... I'd be too embarrassed. For McDonald's its just probably easier to pay up and move on ... before people start asking just what is IN that coffee that makes it taste like paper towels, but makes it stronger than a handful of bennies.


Originally posted by JediTricks
If you hire a lawyer and win the case, your lawyer doesn't get a cut of your money, the money awarded to you is 1/3rd larger to accommodate your lawyer's fees.

Is that just in California though? (I really don't know, just wondering.)


Originally posted by bobafrett
Well here's a picture of my wrecked Monte Carlo
Ahhh ... that's a sad photo (not your hair, the car.) Any time I see a good Monte Carlo ready for the dump, well ... *sniff*. If I were you I would have sued to have it rebuilt and customized. You could have gotten a a sweet candy-flake paint job, some hydraulics and a huge Star Wars mural on the hood. (Well, that's just me.) See ... in Los Angeles we take our Monte Carlos very seriously. You should have at least gotten a rental car out of the deal ... don't go around thinking that the insurance companies can't afford it (they're not a charity.)

Poor Carlos.

QLD
04-01-2003, 06:20 PM
I drink about two cups of coffee a year, and it usually is about 50% coffee and 50% sugar and milk.

I love the smell of coffee though......


......In My Pants!

JediTricks
04-01-2003, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by plasticfetish
[Is that just in California though? (I really don't know, just wondering.) I believe it's that way in every state.

I think McDonald's uses lower-quality coffee beans to save money but never lets the pot sit for too long to ensure that it is fresh - that's probably where their coffee gets its nice aroma from. They probably also have too much bean yield in their coffee to make sure they're not throwing out the grounds before they've gotten their money's worth from them, and this usually causes a foul flavor because there are compounds in the coffee bean that you're not supposed to extract into the drink for optimum flavor, but by ensuring optimum flavor from the bean you're only taking as little as 20% of what the bean has to offer. It's all about drip times and what volume of water passes through the beans over what amount of time - too slow and the drink gets too many foul compounds, too fast and you have to either accept a weaker coffee or force the water through the beans faster so they're wrenching those nasty little flavor-killers out of the bean by their proverbial roots.


I like the smell of coffee, but I can't stand the flavor. I've never had a cup of joe that tasted even 1/10th as good as it smelled.

Lord Malakite
04-01-2003, 07:32 PM
I like coffee, as long as it has lots of creme/milk and sugar. I don't drink it on a regular basis though (at least not since I was a baby and had it in a bottle). :D

Kidhuman
04-01-2003, 07:44 PM
Coffe is nasty to me. Smell and taste. When I lived in NY there was a coffe factory by my friends house. Made me gag everytime I smelled it. Blech!!!

bobafrett
04-01-2003, 09:28 PM
I can't afford coffee, maybe I should have kept in touch with that Lawyer. :greedy: :greedy: :greedy: :greedy:

Exhaust Port
04-03-2003, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by JediTricks I think that's an unfair comparison. The burners on the stove are clearly meant to be unsafe to human flesh and aren't meant to be used this way, the coffee in her cup she thought was immediately safe for human use wasn't - lots of people have spilled hot beverages on themselves without getting burned because hot beverages are supposed to be served at a temperature that isn't unsafe for that person to drink, much less touch. [/B]

Perhaps, a better comparison would be the faucets in your own home. The hot water coming out of those taps can produce temperatures capable of burning one's skin. Sensable people check the temperature of the water before thrusting their hands under the stream or dumping it into their crotch. I check the water everytime before I step into the shower doesn't everyone?

She's thought the coffee was safe for immediate consumption. Ignorance on her part for not checking before balancing the cup between her legs. Even if the temperature was lower, say only hot enough to produce first degree burns as most hot coffee would, shouldn't she take caution with where she places the cup or at least test the temperature? She didn't think the consequences through and she suffered for it.

JediTricks
04-03-2003, 08:13 PM
That's why she was found to be at 20% of fault. The jury found that McDonald's coffee temperature policy was 4 times more a cause of the problem than her foolish placement of her cup of coffee. It wasn't particularly undue ignorance though, hot beverages sold for immediate consumption aren't generally sold at a temperature this dangerous, unlike a shower she couldn't stick her leg in to see if it was safe; if she had put her finger in to test she likely would have been burned anyway - the burn would have occurred somewhere on her body because of the extreme temp of the coffee.

As for the hot shower issue, there is a law about how hot your home water should be specifically because of that, as well as how much volume of water the hot tap should produce in ratio to the cold water. In my building, I think we keep it at 150 to 160, a very hot temperature that can cause scalding and even 1st degree burns in a few seconds - yet that is still about 30 degrees cooler than the cup of coffee in question.

Exhaust Port
04-04-2003, 02:52 PM
But she didn't even attempt to test the temperature. She just plopped the cup down ended up spilling it on herself. Sticking one's finger in a cup of hot water doesn't instantly burn one's skin. You can briefly touch boiling water (>212 degrees F) without a burn. You can wave your hand through an open flame without a burn (>400 degrees F). Human skin is pretty durable to brief exposure to extremes. Long enough to have nerves register an extreme temperature but short enough to avoid damaging the skin. She was burned due to the perlonged exposure to the hot liquid most likely because it was absorbed by her clothing and couldn't be wisked away.

It's because of this reason you can pass your hand through that 150 degree shower as you test it's temperature without suffering a burn.

The Overlord Returns
04-04-2003, 03:03 PM
Hmmm...no, I don't give this any more respect than I do the obese folk currently sueing fast food retailers for "making" them fat.....

smurfvader
04-08-2003, 04:43 PM
Most of what I read in that article I had heard before, but there were a few other things that weren't mentioned. For one the pants that the woman was wearing was made of a fabric that absorbed the coffee and kept it to her thighs. Another 'fact" was that McDonalds' lawyers did the most damage to themselves claiming that she was old and didn't realy need the use of her legs. She aslo showed the jury pictures of her thighs after she was burned and with McDs statements was able to win over the jury. I also heard that she was awarded a lot more than was mentioned in the article, but was actually awrded an undislosed amount.

JIm

plasticfetish
04-08-2003, 08:19 PM
Yeah, the "didn't need her legs" defense is probably a big one for McDonald's. What with the rise in obesity and diabetes being what it is ... I'm sure McDonald's is pretty comfortable with that concept.

Hmmm, maybe I'll jog around the block and get a Big Mac. Better wear my non-absorbent pants if I get some coffee.