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  1. #101
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    Yes, obviously a certain percentage will spill. But out of tens of millions sold, only a few hundred people complained. Should vendors not supply a product customers want, simply because there is a miniscule chance that someone will suffer injury? If you say "yes", then where do you draw the line? So many products would be prohibited. There has to be a balance between safety and choice.

    Ahhhhh, I see you are trying to point out something different.

    Then you agree that McDonald's should pay this woman somewhere between 1/100th and 1/1000th of 1% of it's annual profits (a miniscule amount) to cover this woman's medical bills and damage claim? This is a very tiny miniscule amount to them...very tiny. If I were them, I'd do it for positive PR and with apologies. I'd announce that all coffee would hot, but regulated so that it would not able to cause severe burns.

    I never said they should take coffee out of McDonald's. But, trust me, nobody wants to have third degree burns on their way to work. It is absolutely wrong to serve coffee at that temperature. I would draw the line at causing third degree burns.

    I get food from McDonald's frequently, maybe as much as 3 days per week sometimes. Personally I don't order their coffee because I think it's shitty. But I see they have a new fancy coffee machine, and they are trying to serve specialty coffees. I even tried one. I thought it tasted like crap. But I never said that McDonald's should take coffee out of their restaurants, or limit customer choice. And they seem to be selling coffee all the time. What's the problem?

    The whole time, I've been arguing this is a legitimate lawsuit based on the severity of the burns, and that the woman should be compensated. You've been talking about something different, some kind of tangent that has little to do with it.

    But going off on your tangent, I draw the line at causing severe harm when used in ordinary circumstances. That's why children's toys have warning labels like, "Not suitable for children under age 8", or "May cause choking hazard."

    For coffee specifically, I'd say it must not cause more than a second degree burn if spilled on lap. Personally I like slightly warm coffee. But if coffee did regularly cause third degree burns, then it would have a warning label or more strict regulation. Notice I didn't even say you should stop selling it even if it could regularly cause burns. I said that it should have a warning label and perhaps come in a no spill tray to keep it from falling over. This is not limiting choices. That is being nice to people and giving them a product they want in a safe way.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAJ View Post
    The whole time, I've been arguing this is a legitimate lawsuit based on the severity of the burns, and that the woman should be compensated. You've been talking about something different, some kind of tangent that has little to do with it.
    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt by not assuming that you would take on such an indefensible position. Compensation implies fault. That has not been established. It is ridiculous to hold someone responsible just because they have the ability to pay. That would lead to parasitic behavior.

    You also miss the big picture. 1M might be trivial, but it can encourage thousands of others to file claims for a quick buck.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt by not assuming that you would take on such an indefensible position. Compensation implies fault. That has not been established. It is ridiculous to hold someone responsible just because they have the ability to pay. That would lead to parasitic behavior.

    You also miss the big picture. 1M might be trivial, but it can encourage thousands of others to file claims for a quick buck.

    Since we've covered this ground many times, I guess I'll try yet another method.

    Why don't you think it is McDonald's fault? Do you believe the woman poured molten lead on herself, and they tried to say it was coffee? Do you think all coffee will cause burns like that? How bad a burn should result from accidental spilling?

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAJ View Post
    Why don't you think it is McDonald's fault? Do you believe the woman poured molten lead on herself, and they tried to say it was coffee? Do you think all coffee will cause burns like that? How bad a burn should result from accidental spilling?
    The potential risk of hot liquids is well known even to children.
    Those who choose to purchase the product know or ought to know of the risks.


    Accidents happen all the time for various reason. Negligence is not automatically the cause.
    The degree of injury does not have any relevance on whether the other party is responsible.
    The wealth of the other party doe not have any relevance on guilt.
    In this case, the woman's age and type of clothing made the injury much more serious than normal.

  5. #105
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    The potential risk of hot liquids is well known even to children.
    Those who choose to purchase the product know or ought to know of the risks.


    Accidents happen all the time for various reason. Negligence is not automatically the cause.
    The degree of injury does not have any relevance on whether the other party is responsible.
    The wealth of the other party doe not have any relevance on guilt.
    In this case, the woman's age and type of clothing made the injury much more serious than normal.


    You didn't answer my question. What type of burn should you expect from coffee? You admit that the injury was "worse than normal." What does that mean? What is an acceptable level of injury from coffee?

    Edit: You are being slow to answer. I'll give you a hint. Myself and many people in this thread already answered it for you. The answer is first or second degree burns. Third degree burns are rare and abnormal. Since their product caused effects and damages outside of the realm of normal expectation (which you acknowledge), they should pay for the medical care and some damages.

    You say:
    In this case, the woman's age and type of clothing made the injury much more serious than normal.
    Meaning what? Their product still caused extreme damage (third degree burns) in circumstances that should only be first and second degree burns.


    1M might be trivial, but it can encourage thousands of others to file claims for a quick buck.
    Also, this is very rare, you say. This is abnormal. This means that you refute what you said here. If it is so rare, then there is little risk of massive amounts of legitimate lawsuits to founded. I would say that amount is trivial, but I never said she should get that much.

    Also, your other argument that it would limit customer choice has also been refuted. They just built a coffee bar inside my local McDonald's. Choices increased to keep up with competition from other places.

    Thus, the two doomsday scenarios for the results of this suit are both refuted. Customer choice did not decrease. Also, the successful result of this lawsuit did not cause 1000's of people to mysteriously get 3rd degree burns from McDonald's coffee and attempt to sue.

    But you say that it was not successful. Yes it was. She at least got medical care plus some undisclosed amount of money.

    People who sell products that cause damages out of the range of expectation are going to be sued, and the cases will be won. And they should be won.

    That's where the concept of blame comes into this case. The damages are outside of expectations. You say that every child knows coffee is hot. Of course! But they don't expect when you give hot coca to a child that they would get third degree burns that require skin grafts of their legs.

    You say severity has no bearing on blame. In this case it does because the damages were due to the coffee causing burns outside the realm of expectation.

    Here's a scale I just made up.

    1.) Wow, this coffee is hot. I think I got a minor burn in my mouth...no damages, no medical care.

    2.) I spilled coffee on my leg and ruined my $1000 pants and turned my skin pink...no damages, no medical care

    3.) Holy Cow! I spilled coffee and it hurt like a bitch! I'm awake now! I think I see some small blisters even. Holy shit! ...no money, no damages

    4.) OH no, this coffee took all the skin of a part of my leg, and I'm going to need to have surgery and be in hospital for a while. ...full medical care and damages.

    Why pay for number 4 and not the other three? Because we've now left the reasonable expectation for coffee burns. You can't sell a product that behaves outside the realm of expectation without going out of business, or in the case of physical injury, getting sued.

    Edit 2: Also, when I spoke of the relative wealth of McDonald's, I was talking about fairness and not guilt. Guilt is a separate issue. I know wealth has no bearing on guilt. It does have to do with morality and fairness, which are separate from legality.

    I also know that blame determines who pays. McDonald's should pay for anyone who gets third degree burns from their coffee because it's outside of the accepted and normal possibility. That's why it determines that McDonald's is at fault.

    Of course, I've already explained all this with many examples and analogies. Also, you didn't answer the all questions I asked in this thread. You deflected.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAJ View Post
    You didn't answer my question. What type of burn should you expect from coffee? You admit that the injury was "worse than normal." What does that mean? What is an acceptable level of injury from coffee?

    Edit: Myself and many people in this thread already answered it for you. The answer is first or second degree burns. Third degree burns are rare and abnormal. Since their product caused effects and damages outside of the realm of normal expectation (which you acknowledge), they should pay for the medical care and some damages.
    If hot coffee was not expected to cause serious injuries, then there was no duty for Mcd to take extraordinary measures to protect the customers. A Styrofoam cup with a cap is arguably sufficient. Because there was no negligence, Mcd cannot be held liable for the customer's own clumsiness. Without establishing liability, the severity of the injury is completely irrelevant.

    You ought to read up on tort liability. You are presenting a huge volume of irrelevant points.

    I know wealth has no bearing on guilt. It does have to do with morality and fairness, which are separate from legality.
    Absolutely not. It would be nice or charitable for a person to help the less fortunate, but it is not a moral requirement under typical Western secular beliefs.

    Also, you didn't answer the all questions I asked in this thread. You deflected.
    No. I ignored them because they were irrelevant. I gave you the benefit of the doubt by not assuming that your position was based on a trivially easy to refute foundation.

  7. #107
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    If hot coffee was not expected to cause serious injuries, then there was no duty for Mcd to take extraordinary measures to protect the customers. A Styrofoam cup with a cap is arguably sufficient. Because there was no negligence, Mcd cannot be held liable for the customer's own clumsiness. Without establishing liability, the severity of the injury is completely irrelevant.

    You ought to read up on tort liability. You are presenting a huge volume of irrelevant points.


    Absolutely not. It would be nice or charitable for a person to help the less fortunate, but it is not a moral requirement under typical Western secular beliefs.


    No. I ignored them because they were irrelevant. I gave you the benefit of the doubt by not assuming that your position was based on a trivially easy to refute foundation.


    You mean history like this, where McDonald's admits to wrong doing?


    What Really Happened?

    Stella Liebeck, 79-years-old, was sitting in the passenger seat of her grandson’s car having purchased a cup of McDonald’s coffee. After the car stopped, she tried to hold the cup securely between her knees while removing the lid. However, the cup tipped over, pouring scalding hot coffee onto her lap. She received third-degree burns over 16 percent of her body, necessitating hospitalization for eight days, whirlpool treatment for debridement of her wounds, skin grafting, scarring, and disability for more than two years.

    Despite these extensive injuries, she offered to settle with McDonald’s for $20,000. However, McDonald’s refused to settle for this small amount and, in fact, never offered more than $800.

    The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages — reduced to $160,000 because the jury found her 20 percent at fault — and $2.7 million in punitive damages for McDonald’s callous conduct. (To put this in perspective, McDonald’s revenue from coffee sales alone was in excess of $1.3 million a day.) The trial judge reduced the punitive damages to $480,000, but did state that McDonald’s had engaged in “willful, wanton, and reckless” behavior. Mrs. Liebeck and McDonald’s eventually settled for a confidential amount. The jury heard the following evidence in the case:

    McDonald’s Operations Manual required the franchisee to hold its coffee at 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit;
    Coffee at that temperature, if spilled, causes third-degree burns (the worst kind of burn) in three to seven seconds;
    Third-degree burns do not heal without skin grafting, debridement and whirlpool treatments that cost tens of thousands of dollars and result in permanent disfigurement, extreme pain and disability of the victim for many months, and in some cases, years;

    The chairman of the department of mechanical engineering and bio-mechanical engineering at the University of Texas testified that this risk of harm is unacceptable, as did a widely recognized expert on burns, the editor in chief of the leading scholarly publication in the specialty, the Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation;

    McDonald’s admitted that it has known about the risk of serious burns from its scalding hot coffee for more than 10 years — the risk was brought to its attention through numerous other claims and suits, to no avail;
    From 1982 to 1992, McDonald’s coffee burned more than 700 people, many receiving severe burns to the genital area, perineum, inner thighs, and buttocks;

    Not only men and women, but also children and infants, have been burned by McDonald’s scalding hot coffee, in some instances due to inadvertent spillage by McDonald’s employees;
    McDonald’s admitted at trial that its coffee is “not fit for consumption” when sold because it causes severe scalds if spilled or drunk;

    McDonald’s admitted at trial that consumers are unaware of the extent of the risk of serious burns from spilled coffee served at McDonald’s then required temperature;


    McDonald’s admitted that it did not warn customers of the nature and extent of this risk and could offer no explanation as to why it did not;


    Liebeck’s treating physician testified that her injury was one of the worst scald burns he had ever seen.
    McDonald’s did a survey of other coffee establishments in the area, and found that coffee at other places was between 30-40 degrees cooler.

    Moreover, the Shriner’s Burn Institute in Cincinnati had published warnings to the franchise food industry that its members were unnecessarily causing serious scald burns by serving beverages above 130 degrees Fahrenheit. In refusing to grant a new trial in the case, Judge Robert Scott called McDonald’s behavior “callous.”

    Morgan, The Recorder, September 30, 1994. From www.hottcoffeethemovie.com.

    Edit: Notice my position is not easy to refute as you suppose. You are out-voted by the other members of the jury. The jury found McDonald's as 80% at fault.

    A flimsy styrofoam cup is no where near sufficient, unless you are wearing a fire resistant fireman's uniform with extra lap protection.

    Obviously you do not understand government regulations concerning hazardous materials nor the nature of what should be expected from coffee, even though I explained them to you several times.

    Further, I'm very secular, and I find your values and callous nature to be extraordinarily sick by my standards of my morality. I agree with Judge Robert Scott where he called McDonald's callous in court.


  8. #108
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    Feel free to recommend some history or torts for me to read. Here's more history from the Erin Brockovich website. Please watch the film, "Erin Brokovich." This website has the numerous cases that Erin Brockovich is currently working on.

  9. #109
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    In addition, let me briefly share my vision of secular morality.

    Blame is VERY important in lawsuits, but actually it is a very small...very tiny aspect of problems solving. The person is burned? Treat their wounds. The coffee burns people? Change the type of cup, holding tray, and provide a warning.

    I imagine a world where all these problems are addressed by society with efficiency and no cost to the citizen. There would be no question of blame, and no dispute. There would be no fear about payment or even any money exchanged.

    Money will have a whole new concept in the future. The accumulation of vast wealth without benefiting people with medical care will be seen as a kind of authoritarian barbarism. Or rather it will be seen as we look at the church in the dark ages, or as we now see the "divine right" of kings to rule.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAJ View Post
    Notice my position is not easy to refute as you suppose. You are out-voted by the other members of the jury. The jury found McDonald's as 80% at fault.
    Take this case to a different judge and the results can be very different. Why do you think the plaintiff's layer recommended a settlement? Only a fool would settle if victory was assured

    Screaming does not enhance the validity of your argument. Regardless of the merit of the original suit, the arguments YOU presented were very poor.

    Further, I'm very secular, and I find your values and callous nature to be extraordinarily sick by my standards of my morality.
    I find the principles you presented in this thread to be very naive and short sighted. You only see the situation directly in front of you. You totally failed to consider the potential consequences of your principles if they were applied in future scenarios.

    Feel free to recommend some history or torts for me to read.
    Just read up on what is required to prevail in court. Hint: gut feel doesn't cut it.

    Blame is VERY important in lawsuits, but actually it is a very small...very tiny aspect of problems solving.
    Incorrect. Fairness is fundamental to a functioning society.

    I imagine a world where all these problems are addressed by society with efficiency and no cost to the citizen.
    Imagining it is not the same as successfully implementing it. Resources are not unlimited.

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