Another McDonald’s Hot Coffee Lawsuit Filed, This One in L.A.

A new McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, twenty years after the infamous “McDonald’s coffee” case, which received worldwide attention.

In this case, Paulette Carr claims she was injured by hot McDonald’s coffee on January 12, 2012 at a Southern California drive-through, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Carr’s lawsuit claims that McDonald’s caused her hot coffee injuries by “negligently, carelessly and improperly” placing the plastic lid on Carr’s coffee cup, causing it to spill onto her.

Similar to most lawsuits against large chains, Carr is holding McDonald’s as an employer who is responsible for the alleged negligence of the employee who allegedly neglected her coffee cup lid.

A plaintiff like Carr could potentially recover a wide array of damages depending on the severity of her injuries from the hot coffee spill, but Carr’s California civil suit does not describe the severity of her injuries, according to the Times.

Many people felt the jury’s $2.9 million award for Stella Liebeck, the woman who had McDonald’s hot coffee spill on her in 1992 in an Albuquerque McDonald’s, was outrage and stunned, both at the “frivolous” nature of the woman’s suit and that our civil court system would even allow such a seemingly large award.

That verdict was widely criticized and became a rallying cry for advocates of legal reform.

A judge reduced Liebeck’s award to $640,000; and McDonald’s and Liebeck settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

However, what most people fail to realize is how serious Liebeck’s injuries were and how many painful, serious surgeries she underwent.  As reported in the 2011 documentary “Hot Coffee,” Liebeck received serious third-degree burns to her genitals, thighs, and groin area and required skin grafts as a result.

Liebeck’s coffee was more than ‘hot’—it was at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit. McDonald’s had been warned several times before this incident with Liebeck that the coffee was kept at too high a temperature and could seriously damage someone. They refused to make any changes to the holding temperatures. And that was before Stella Liebeck’s tragic spill.

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