[New Mexico District Court, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, 1994]
Executive Summary The Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants case, also known as the hot coffee lawsuit, was a controversial case that happened in 1994, sparking debates across the United States over tort reform . The plaintiff of the case, a woman in her late 70s named Stella Liebeck, was awarded 2.86 million dollars after suffering horrendous third degree burns across her pelvic region. The burns were caused by coffee that was served at over 80°C, scalding Liebeck’s skin in mere seconds after the drink was spilled. In this case study, the facts will be laid out and the court’s decision analyzed. Opinions will then be made based on our members’ impressions.
Details of the case …show more content…
There, Liebeck purchased a simple cup of coffee from the drive through window. Contrary to popular belief, she wasn’t driving the car when she made the purchase; she was in the passenger’s seat of her grandson’s, Chris’s, car. Chris had parked the car somewhere so that her grandmother could add cream and sugar to her cup of coffee. As the car, a 1989 Ford Probe, did not have cup holders, Liebeck placed the cup of coffee between her knees and attempted to remove the lid of the coffee cup. As a result, the cup of coffee was spilled and the plaintiff’s cotton-based sweatpants quickly absorbed the burning coffee, holding it against her skin. She was quickly rushed to the hospital, though her injuries were serious enough to necessitate hospitalization for over a week and the usage of skin grafts. Even after the hospital stay, Liebeck required additional care for 3 weeks, tended by her