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The McDonald Coffee

The McDonald Coffee

The McDonald’s Coffee case is also known as Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants. In 1994 this product liability lawsuit was heavily debated in the United States. On 27 February 1992 Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman from Albuquerque, New Mexico ordered a 49 cent cup of coffee from the drive-through window of a local McDonald’s restaurant located at 5001 Gibson Boulevard Southeast. Liebeck placed the coffee cup between her knees and pulled the far side of the lid toward her to remove it. In the process, she spilled the entire cup of coffee on her lap. Liebeck was hospitalised for eight days while she underwent skin grafting, followed by two years of medical treatment.

The trial took place from 8–17 August 1994 before New Mexico District Court Judge Robert H. Scott. A twelve-person jury reached its verdict on 18 August 1994 and awarded $2.86 million to plaintiff, Ms. Liebeck. ABC News called the case, “the poster child of excessive lawsuits.” But was it justified to give such a high punishment to McDonald’s? What can people expect of a 49 cent coffee? Or were there other aspects involved in this case?

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