Essay about Liebeck V. Mcdonalds

1625 Words Oct 8th, 2008 7 Pages
This paper will consider the facts associated with the case of Stella Liebeck versus McDonald’s, resulting from Ms. Liebeck’s efforts to collect for damages sustained when she spilled extremely hot coffee into her lap in 1992. The issues, applicable laws and the conclusion the jury reached will also be covered as well as the subsequent impacts on American tort law following this decision. The facts in the Liebeck case start with the incident description as recounted by Aric Press in the March 20, 1995 issue of Newsweek. Ms. Liebeck was a recently retired, 79 year old woman who ordered coffee at a McDonald’s drive through and received it in a lidded, styrofoam cup (Press, 1995, p. 32).
After the order was picked up, her grandson
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Justice (Kubasek, et. al., in Hartigan, ed., 2004, p. 172). in this case supports the plaintiff’s claim that negligence was clear in the case and the plaintiff was, therefore, wronged, by the defendant and eligible to collect damages for the loss. The defendant, in their efforts to meet the needs of the marketplace, was interested in efficiency (Kubasek, et. al., in Hartigan, ed., 2004, p. 172) and maximizing their ability to capitalize on consumers’ needs by serving hot coffee for enjoyment by its patrons. After the verdict, many, myself included, thought the American tort system had gone haywire. There were innumerable articles about the vastness of the award and most, including a column from the New York Daily news, Mighty Quinn (1994), were aghast at such an award for something so seemingly innocuous. The media reports were not terribly detailed and, as such, many people’s perceptions about exactly what occurred were erroneous. Tort reform became a big topic at the state and federal levels. Congress set limits on punitive awards and malpractice awards (Press, p. 2). The case brought light to the enormous cost of civil litigation, pegged at $130 billion (Press, p. 2). The legal system was hurt by the case because there were many misperceptions

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