Can I get a McLawyer with my McCoffee?
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 94 16:50:37 PDT
Subject: Can I get a McLawyer with my McCoffee?
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Subject: Yet Another Legal Outrage
The local newsrag reported yesterday that an 81-year-old woman
in Albuquerque who suffered third-degree burns after spilling a cup of
hot McDonald's coffee in her lap has been awarded $2.9 million by a
jury, who agreed with her completely shameless contention that Mickey
D's should have known better than to serve coffee that hot.
The $2.9 million award broke down like this: $200K in
compensatory damages (although the plaintiff was found to be 20%
negligent [*], so this comes out to an actual $160K she was awarded),
and $2.7 million in punitive damages, as the coffee was found to be
defective [**] and that McDonald's engaged in "conduct justifying the
punitive damages". [***] One of the jurors was quoted as saying "The
coffee's too hot out there." [****]
Even worse, her lawyer claimed that there have been several
previous lawsuits over the temperature of McDonald's coffee, but he
believes that his client's is the first to reach a verdict.
The woman was riding in her grandson's car, and proceeded to
put the cup of coffee between her legs and remove the cap. When the
coffee spilled, she was burned "on her legs, groin, and buttocks" and,
according to her attorney, incurred medical bills close to $10,000.
In their never-ending quest for Accuracy in Journalism, said
newsrag took the extreme step of testing the temperature of coffee at
several local greasy spoons, and all of them, including McD's, came in
at 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.
I wish I could say that I'm making this up, but even in the
depths of the most depraved LSD binge I ever participated in, I don't
think I ever hallucinated something this foul, warped, and misguided.
[*] Exactly how in the fuck a jury establishes a percentage of
negligence was not discussed; I assume that someone who is more
familiar with the profession of litigious pandering than I am
will enlighten me on this issue.
[**] "Defective" coffee? What, did Juan Valdez piss in that particular
sack of beans?
[***] I assume the counterdroid said, "So, you want some fries with
that Potential Time Bomb of Flaming Death and Unlimited Liability
that's shortly going to be ticking away in your lap?"
[****] And your head's probably getting a bit warm stuffed up your ass
© 1994 Peter Langston