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Justinian Lane

Another McDonald’s Lawsuit – Will We Get The Facts Straight This Time?

Civil justice advocates cringe every time we hear someone mention “the McDonald’s coffee case” because the facts of the case have become so distorted.  I’m not going to rehash the whole thing here (for the umpteenth time) but will say that the woman who was burned (a) was in a parked car, and (b) suffered third degree burns to her crotch because (c) the coffee was as hot as the water in your car’s radiator after you go for a drive, and (d) she was about the 700th person to suffer serious burns from that undrinkably-hot coffee. 

So part of me is cringing a bit because there’s another McDonald’s burn lawsuit moving forward through the courts: 

When Frank Sutton bit into his sandwich, scalding grease “flew all over his mouth,” a fellow diner recalled. Mr. Sutton’s wife took ice from her drink and applied it to his face, but his lips blistered. When he told one of the employees, he testified that she said “this is what happens” to the sandwiches “when they aren’t drained completely.” The next morning, he found that his lips had bled on the pillow.

Seven months later, his injuries still had not completely healed. He says he avoided certain work assignments at his job of refurbishing and assembling outdoor amusement rides if he thought they would make his lip condition worse. Mr. Sutton sued McDonald’s and the local franchisee, alleging that he had suffered $2 million in medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Source: Editorial - A Nonfrivolous Suit - NYTimes.com

It is my sincere hope that those of us who value a robust civil justice system don’t let Frank Sutton become a victim of the “tort wars.”  How about getting in front of this one and making sure that the media (with the help of the “reform” crowd) doesn’t distort these facts?

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Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 14, 2010 in Product Liability
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Comments

The idiot woman stuck the cup of hot coffee in her crotch and tried to pry the lid off because she was too lazy to get out of the car and go inside where she could add the milk safely at a table. This moron took too big a bite and he burned himself.? Give me a break.

Q: What is a bus full of lawyers that crashed through the fence on the bridge, wound up in the bottom of the bay, and drowned all the lawyers?

A: A good start.

Posted by: Fat Man | March 14, 2010 10:02 PM

Thanks Justinian! Keep us updated on this. Sorry to see some of the crazy comments continue.

Posted by: Kia | March 16, 2010 12:35 PM

You are correct, the Liebeck case facts have been distorted over time, and you seem to want to continue distorting them. Radiator? Really? The case was simple. Coffee was a normal temperature, which can cause burns regardless of who you buy it from. Jury felt sympathetic towards an aging woman.

This case with the grease might be different, I don't know.

Posted by: Yar | April 22, 2010 4:58 PM