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The True Story Behind the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Lawsuit

McDonald’s has always been a “hot” favorite when it comes to lawsuits being filed against it for a myriad of reasons, which some even describe as absurd. This started with the infamous 1993 case where the fast-food giant was asked to cough up almost $4.08AUD million to a lady named Stella Liebeck who filed a suit through her injury lawyer against the company for hot coffee that spilled on her. The suit became an inspiration for frivolous suits being filed against the big companies for large payouts as compensation, most of which are often described as absurd. Even though the story became the inspiration for many punch lines that were written later, the facts of the suit were quite serious and justified.

So what exactly happened with Stella Liebeck? Liebeck suffered severe, third-degree injury after she accidently spilled hot coffee that she bought from McDonald’s onto her lap, in a car that was parked when the incident took place. The burns were quite serious, and as a result of which she even went into a state of shock and had to receive multiple skin grafts as the incident had left her disfigured permanently. A later investigation revealed the fact that McDonald’s was heating the beverage up to 190 degree Fahrenheit and also that the multinational had received numerous complaints from customers who had got themselves burnt due to the almost boiling coffee served by it. Despite these facts, Liebeck only pleaded for the compensation to the tune of her medical expenses incurred because of the incident.

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