Stella Liebeck And Mcdonald's Case Study

1612 Words7 Pages
Torts are civil wrongs carried out by one party against another. If he or she wishes, the injured party may take civil action against the other individual. The injured party would then be considered as the plaintiff and the other party would be the defendant or tortfeasor. Torts safeguard specific opportunities that persons tend to hold dear within a democratic society. These include having the freedom or right to travel and to be able to enjoy your property (Lau & Johnson, 2011). In addition, this essay will focus on the case between Stella Liebeck and McDonald’s. This case between both parties has led to the attacks on “frivolous lawsuits” in the United States. On February 1992, the 79 year old woman, Stella Liebeck from Albuquerque, New…show more content…
One of these defenses is assumption of risk. This is where a plaintiff’s right is alleviated from recovery because that party willingly and knowingly assumed known risks. There is also comparative or contributory negligence and in some instances, Good Samaritan statutes. Good Samaritan law is known as state laws that protect those who help the injured party from negligence liability. Since Liebeck had placed the cup between her knees resulting in her being severely burnt, the best defense I think would have worked for Mc. Donald’s is contributory negligence. This is basically a defense where the company can argue that the plaintiff contributed to her injuries. McDonalds argument was, the customers know coffee is a hot beverage and that’s how they like it. He went on to say that burn hazard would be in any food substance given at 140 degrees or above, and that the company’s coffee at such temperature should not be consumed because it would burn the mouth and throat. I think this was just an obvious statement to say that consumers need to be more careful and are responsible for their actions since they know that they are purchasing a hot beverage. McDonalds confessed that their customers were oblivious of the fact that they could be the victim of third degree burns from the coffee, and that the statement they had on the side…show more content…
This statement was made under the principles of comparative negligence. Even though the coffee cup indicated that there was a warning, the jury pointed out that this warning wasn’t large enough, nor was it adequate. They then decided to award Miss Liebeck US $200,000 in compensatory damages, or reimbursement for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. This was then decreased by 20 percent to $ 160, 000. They also gave her $2.7 million in punitive damage. Punitive damage is regarded as money awarded to the plaintiff when the defendant behaves wantonly, to punish the defendant and to prevent any wrongdoings from occurring in the future. The jurors got to this number when Morgan proposed that McDonald’s should be penalized for one or two days’ worth of coffee revenues. This was about $1.35 million each day. However, the judge alleviated the punitive damages to $480,000, which was three times the compensatory amount, for the sum of $640,000. The result of this was appealed by McDonald’s and Liebeck on December 1994, but both parties decided to settle outside of the court for a sum that was not disclosed to the public ((The Lectric Law library,

    More about Stella Liebeck And Mcdonald's Case Study

      Open Document