After losing in a multi-million dollar judgment 20 years ago for serving coffee several degrees hotter than every other restaurant and causing third-degree burns in a customer’s pelvic region on 6% of her skin and lesser burns on 16% of her skin, you would think McDonald’s would have learned its lesson. That is one reason for the high price tag on these kinds of cases because that’s what it takes to get the attention of a corporation that isn’t listening. In this case McDonald’s had settled out of court on 700 previous coffee burn cases, yes that’s a 7 with two zeros after it, but this time the customer refused to settle out of court like the others had and won a huge settlement.
There have been other lawsuits since that famous case 20 years ago. There was this lawsuit from 2010, a case involving a four your old toddler in 2012 and in somewhat related liquids, this hot chocolate suit.
The latest lawsuit, reported by the Los Angeles Times, involves a 2012 incident where the lid of the coffee cup came off when being passed from the drive-through window. This time it wasn’t the temperature of the coffee that was the issue but rather how carelessly the lid was put on the cup. In the 2012 toddler case the issue was pouring a non-adult a cup of coffee to take back to a table which was actually against company policy so it wasn’t as if McDonald’s is getting spanked for negligence. The plaintiff is simply seeking compensation for an employee’s lack of judgement.
One might be inclined to think they are all just opportunists trying to cash in on something easier to win than the lottery but in the 2010 lawsuit they only asked for $7500, $7182 for pain and suffering and $318 for lost wages and medical expenses. Not exactly a huge jackpot. In the other suits the dollar amounts were not specified.