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The McDonald’s® coffee case is one of the most famouscivil cases in American law. Almost everyone has heard of it, and most peoplehave an opinion about it. It is often used as a justification for tort reform.Prepare for the debate by reading the article “The Actual Facts about theMcDonald’s Coffee Case” retrieved from http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm.In addition, perform some research on tort reform.
The ‘Lectric Law Library. (1996). The actual factsabout the McDonald’s coffee case. Retrieved from http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm
Topic:McDonald’s Coffee Case Debate
NOVIOLATION: Students whose last names begin with the letters Athrough K will argue that McDonald’s did not violate its obligation of care tothe consumer by serving coffee at 185 degrees, and tort reform is necessary toprevent these types of civil judgments. These students should clearly indicatetheir position on the debate by beginning each Discussion post with the heading”NO VIOLATION.”
VIOLATION: Studentswhose last names begin with the letters L through Z will argue that McDonald’sdid violate its obligation of care to the consumer by serving coffee at 185degrees, and tort reform would prevent worthy plaintiffs from recovering thefull amount of damages to which they are entitled. These students shouldclearly indicate their position on the debate by beginning each Discussion postwith the heading “VIOLATION.”
Each student must contribute at least one originalidea and/or example representing his or her side of the debate, and eachstudent must respond to at least one student’s argument from the opposing side.
Each student must respond to the ongoing Discussionthat will be moderated by the instructor for the duration of the debate.
Yes, so the critical duty of care here was toserve coffee at a reasonable temperature, which they exceeded. What was thestated reason for keeping the coffee this hot? What were the argument that itshould be held at a lower temperature?
Yes, there did seem to be some misinformation in the public. I don’t know wherethese stories originated, but initially it was claimed that she was driving andshe was trying to put creamer coffee while the car was in motion. Also it isinteresting to note that she was not alone in her complaint. There had manyother people who had also complained to McDonald’s, but none of this has anyimpact on them.
Professor and Classmates,
I don’t think McDonald’s violated their obligation ofcare when serving their coffee. Common sense says that coffee is servedhot. Why should McDonald’s be held accountable for someone not payingattention to their beverage? If McDonald’s is keeping within the industrystandard of coffee temperature wise, then they have already proven theirobligation of care by maintaining the authorized temperature and not selling aproduct that falls below standards. Ms. Liebeck unfortunately did nottake heed to the fact that the coffee would be hot. Was this her firsttime having coffee from McDonald’s? If not, was she negligent for knowinglyputting the coffee between her legs? This should not fall on the part ofMcDonald’s because they maintained their temperature. It is not like theymade their coffee especially hot just for her. Why didn’t the persondirectly before and after her not get burnt? If obligation of care to theconsumer has to be written for all things common sense, then we should havewarnings for ice cream being to cold, jaw breakers being to hard and everythingin between.
Cain, Kevin, 1994. THE McDONALD’S COFFEELAWSUIT. Retrieved from: http://www.jtexconsumerlaw.com/V11N1/Coffee.pdf
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