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  1. #71
    Senior Member niffer's Avatar
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    I watched the video. I was surprised at how bad the burns were, and by how different the original portrayal of it was by the media.

    I think if the woman's first reaction upon being burned was to get up and want to sue McDonalds, she would obviously look bad to many. But the thing is, she only decided to sue when they asked McDs to help pay for the medical cost AFTER the ridiculous medical fee came up, which in my opinion was totally reasonable, and totally unreasonable on McDonalds part to have offered so little money when they should have offered much, much more.

    I bet Mcdonalds must have lobbyed for how the media portrayed the case originally.
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  2. #72

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    The point here is not that the woman is 79, or that she's frail, or that her skin isn't as strong, or that her idiot son didn't hold the coffee for her. Those facts are irrelevant and distract from the heart of the issue: McDonald's served coffee at a temperature that would have harmed ANYONE, and had 700 incidents to prove that they knew this.

    Anyone can (and has, judging by the responses in the thread) drop a cup of coffee; it's not negligent behavior. The particulars of this plaintiff's situation make it convenient to argue that she's an exception, but the facts as we've been able to discern them say that she's not.
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  3. #73
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Ah yes, 700 unproven complaints out of how many cups of coffee served? While I'm anti-global conglomerate, this type of lawsuit is specious.

  4. #74
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    After reviewing the facts, including the above, I would have ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
    wait...1982?
    I think the fact people buy the coffee means the temperature is at acceptable levels. Otherwise they wouldn't be selling and people wouldn't be buying. Unless it was a specific mistake.

    Anyways, I actually changed my mind, and if I was the judge I would make mcdonalds pay for the treatment. Simply because negligence isn't required to make a company responsible for the harm their products cause. And I bet this can make them adopt better cups. Not sure if it would be fair to mcdonalds, but it still sounds efficient.
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  5. #75
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post

    Not saying that one can't expect some pain and suffering. To that degree? That's the whole point of the lawsuit.

    If you buy some fuel from me, should you expect it to explode and kill everyone within a 30 yard radius? Because some fuel is that volatile. Who is a fault if you are expecting gasoline and you get jet fuel?

    I knew a guy who worked on a farm where I was a manager. He was getting fuel from an above ground tank. The mechanism sparked, and the tank blew up. He was burned on around 70% of his body. The flesh on his fingers curled away from the bone.

    I believe he got $4 million. With those kind of damages, SOMEONE is going to pay. It's just a question of who. I don't remember who paid. I believe it was a question between the tank manufacturer and the maker of the mechanism. One of them paid $4 million.

    ----

    To those against the woman:

    If coffee is not labeled or handled as a hazardous substance, then it shouldn't cause severe burns in any case. Hazardous Chemicals have MSDS which indicates the protective clothing required to handle it, the nature of the damage expected, and what one should do if the chemical is ingested or gets on skin. I've handled dozens and dozens of chemicals which had MSDS. Some of the chemicals would cause severe reactions or possibly kill you.

    The nature of the burns from McDonald's coffee would make in one of the most dangerous chemicals. As i said, I've gotten acid on me at least twice, and handled various other substances which would cause horrible damage. I'm clumsy, but none of the chemicals I've handled caused anywhere near the level of damage this coffee caused. Even if I violated the label and didn't handle it using the right protective suit, I never had anywhere near that level of damage.

    McDonald's should pay. With this kind of damage, someone must pay. Legally. Morally speaking, however, this is like me giving a penny to a beggar. They should do it gladly with apologies. They should quickly address the issue, and look for ways to prevent it in the future.

    The kind of reasoning you are using is common in China. Migrant workers are mangled in the machine, and the employer says, "You are a fault for not working the machine properly." The lawyers trying to get settlements are harassed by the police.

    Any company who puts economic value above human life, or profits at the expense severe damage to people, needs to be punished economically.

    Safety and regulations need to be imposed because of attitudes like this. Companies don't care about people until the issue is a real economic threat. "Wow, we need to establish some safety because we might get sued!" It's a shame things are that way. They should care about people to begin with.

  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAJ View Post
    I believe he got $4 million. With those kind of damages, SOMEONE is going to pay. It's just a question of who.
    If a drunk passerby falls severely injure himself on your property should you be required to pay him, just because you have more money than he does?

    [/quote]
    If coffee is not labeled or handled as a hazardous substance, then it shouldn't cause severe burns in any case.
    [/quote]
    Incorrect. The hot water is never labeled. No power receptacles are labelled as shock hazards. Detergent has no "do not eat" label.

    McDonald's should pay. With this kind of damage, someone must pay. Legally. Morally speaking, however, this is like me giving a penny to a beggar. They should do it gladly with apologies.
    Why should they? People are required to take responsibility for themselves too. They can't just do as they please and expect others to accommodate them.

  7. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    Why should they? People are required to take responsibility for themselves too. They can't just do as they please and expect others to accommodate them.
    That's true. But the people on McDonald's side in this debate seem to be saying, as you seem to be in the bolded part, that this woman was sufficiently careless or clumsy to exculpate McDonald's. That's simply not true. Spilling a drink is a common occurrence, and it's reasonable to assume that a small percentage of customers will spill it without exhibiting unusual negligence. Especially when you're serving it in a styrofoam cup with a flimsy plastic top and handing it to someone in their car.

    There appears to be no debate that the coffee was served at 190 degrees and that the coffee caused the burns. So the only question is whether McDonald's was negligent for serving coffee at a temperature that causes severe burns or the plaintiff was negligent for failing to take proper care. Cases like this are all about what it is reasonable to assume. I think it's reasonable to assume that some people will spill coffee, and I don't think it's reasonable to assume that spilling coffee on your leg will cause third degree burns.
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  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    That's true. But the people on McDonald's side in this debate seem to be saying, as you seem to be in the bolded part, that this woman was sufficiently careless or clumsy to exculpate McDonald's. That's simply not true. Spilling a drink is a common occurrence, and it's reasonable to assume that a small percentage of customers will spill it without exhibiting unusual negligence. Especially when you're serving it in a styrofoam cup with a flimsy plastic top and handing it to someone in their car.

    There appears to be no debate that the coffee was served at 190 degrees and that the coffee caused the burns. So the only question is whether McDonald's was negligent for serving coffee at a temperature that causes severe burns or the plaintiff was negligent for failing to take proper care. Cases like this are all about what it is reasonable to assume. I think it's reasonable to assume that some people will spill coffee, and I don't think it's reasonable to assume that spilling coffee on your leg will cause third degree burns.
    Yeah, I mean, if she had attempted to juggle the cup of coffee or balance it on the end of a pin, then sure, why the hell should McDonald's have foreseen that someone would do that with their product? But it really isn't unreasonable to expect that people will spill coffee, which McDonald's basically admitted, and no customer expects that a spill will melt their fucking skin off.
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  9. #79
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    Edit: I was typing this at the same time as EffEm was posting there's. Take it as validation if I say some of the same things "again". I was thinking this independently



    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    If a drunk passerby falls severely injure himself on your property should you be required to pay him, just because you have more money than he does?
    They could try, but it's not likely to succeed. My income and property are beneath the state exemptions. So people could win a judgment, but not be able to collect anything.



    Incorrect. The hot water is never labeled. No power receptacles are labelled as shock hazards. Detergent has no "do not eat" label.
    Why should they? People are required to take responsibility for themselves too. They can't just do as they please and expect others to accommodate them.
    Since you didn't understand the people who already explained this, I'll try to explain a different way. Litigation is set up to protect people and instill a sense of social responsibility with companies. If society was not set up this way, there would be broken glass in your breakfast cereal because nobody cares about you. If you want to argue for McDonalds, go ahead, but you lost your case 30 years ago already.

    I thought the same, "Stupid people, spilling their coffee", but as soon as I saw the burns...if that came from coffee...they should be sued, and the suit would win. Knowing nothing about the case, I said $500,000 plus medical, and then later in the thread, someone said they got $600,000, which was pretty close to what I had guessed. However, I'm not sure if that's true because I didn't investigate. The main difficulty in this case is proving that the burns came from coffee rather than molten lead or something. If it did come from the coffee, then they should be sued for it.

    If your way was true, then products could literally cause you health problems or kill you outright. If profits from not fixing the problem were greater than the revenue lost by loosing you as customer (due to death), then they would not give a flying fuck if you died. Lawsuits balance out this complete lack of concern for your well being.

    I worked for a company that had this attitude. In one enterprise there were screw augers. This is a metal pipe with a metal screw inside. It is designed to take grain out of a pit to the top of grain storage bin.

    One day a young man got caught in the screw auger, which means his entire leg was screwed around a two inch space inside a pipe. He was suspended there for five hours before he was found.

    The poor kid was stupid. He was probably wearing loose fitting clothes that got caught up; however, the company was sued.

    The point is this: that was the day they started thinking about safety. They weren't thinking, "Wow we need to take better care of people. That was horrible." They were thinking, "We need to install a safety program so we don't get sued again."

    Maybe this horrible accident could have been prevented by instructing new employees on proper clothing. Maybe we could prevent this by having a stop button within reach or having two people be required to do the task.

    Spilling is a likely event with coffee; they should serve it in cup holder trays to prevent spilling. Eating detergent is not likely, unless someone is insane. Hot water is not (as far as I know) served in a drive through. Electrical outlets have circuit breakers, and you are not likely to encounter a hot one in the parking lot of McDonald's. You have to think of more examples, and having not legal training, I'll attempt to explain if would succeed or not.

    As a side note, the thought of lawsuit has never entered my mind. Once I was in a traffic jam on the Interstate, and it was raining and misty, and someone in a pickup truck rear ended my Toyota Corolla going 60 mph. I didn't even sue that guy. I did get a lawyer, but I just wanted them to pay my medical bills and pay for my car (about $4000 total).

    When I was 19, I was sued for rear ending someone. That woman was consoling me after the accident, telling me everything was going to be alright, then she sued my insurance company. She got a new car plus six months of free psycho-therapy and other stuff, but it wasn't nearly the value she had asked originallly. Then that insurance company dropped me.

    Funny thing, nowadays there is a turn lane at that location so that type of accident could never happen there. Maybe somebody died. Usually somebody has to die for them to change the traffic signals.

    Anyway, concerning McDonald's, it doesn't really matter what you believe about the woman or if you think you could win the case for McDonald's. Given the same circumstances, it would be won every time. Thank your lucky stars too! Otherwise we'd live in a world where king cobras were sold as pets, and eye drops would make you blind. People would just rear end you in the car, and then cuss you out for getting in their way. If you lost a leg at work, then employers would just throw you to the curb and get someone else without caring what happened to you. You'd be destitute because nobody would hire you with one leg. People could dump sewage in your front yard. People could then do whatever they wanted in your world.

    Fortunately, we don't live in that world.

  10. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    Spilling a drink is a common occurrence, and it's reasonable to assume that a small percentage of customers will spill it without exhibiting unusual negligence. Especially when you're serving it in a styrofoam cup with a flimsy plastic top and handing it to someone in their car.
    Your point is valid. But handling boiling hot liquid is such a common everyday activity that it is reasonable to expect people to be aware of the dangers. Therefore, buying the product constitutes an implicit acceptance of the risk.

    It's like using a power saw. No one expects to lose fingers, but if it happens, the manufacturer is not automatically liable unless it can be proven that they failed to ensure that the product met accepted levels of safety.

    There appears to be no debate that the coffee was served at 190 degrees and that the coffee caused the burns. So the only question is whether McDonald's was negligent for serving coffee at a temperature that causes severe burns or the plaintiff was negligent for failing to take proper care. Cases like this are all about what it is reasonable to assume. I think it's reasonable to assume that some people will spill coffee, and I don't think it's reasonable to assume that spilling coffee on your leg will cause third degree burns.[/QUOTE]

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