GrahamKennedy wrote:For me this comes down to three things. The first is that the image a lot of people had of this case was that the woman was given "hot" coffee in the sense that we normally think of hot coffee... where if you spill it on yourself you go "ow!" and fan yourself a bit, and maybe you're a bit red for a while. I think a lot of the outrage stemmed from that - "Hell, I burn myself on my coffee all the time, and she gets money for it?!" Actually seeing that this was something that did real genuine harm goes a long way to destroying that reaction, in my eyes.
The other is that McDonalds KNEW this was happening to people... and not just a few people, there have been some 700 of their customers injured by their coffee. Coffee that was being served hotter than their own guidelines said was safe. This was all reported to them over and over again - their own quality assurance people reported that their coffee was unfit for human consumption or even handling, and they did nothing. And at trial, when asked why, they had no answer. Not even an attempt at an excuse. In my eyes, that puts them clearly in the wrong.
And lastly, the amount. Yes, it may be far more than the woman deserved. But she offered to settle for twenty grand to cover her bills and they refused. She wasn't out to gold-dig a big corporation here.
I can see the concept of punitive damages going somewhere other than the defendant, but I don't think it would really be practical. Making it like a class action payout would effectively turn any lawsuit into a class action one, which is a bit over the top. Giving it to a charity sounds nice, but which charity? Who decides? On what basis? Does the receiving body have some say in how the lawsuit goes, since they stand to benefit? Can the receiving body help the plaintiff out to increase their chances of getting the cash? It would add even more complexity to lawsuits. Big awards to the plaintiff can feel unfair, but IMO it's the least bad solution.
sunnyside wrote:There isn't any indication, to my knowledge, that this coffee was any hotter than what McDonalds had been serving by the tens of millions.
Further just a brief check online indicates that the ideal temp for making coffee is actually hotter than the McDonalds guidelines, and (based on poking around) people who like their coffee tend to run their machines at the max temperature they can dial it to. Mikey does that as well I believe.
To a degree it comes down to the concept of things being inherently risky. The linked thing indicated the rate of a burn was one in 24 million if I'm remembering correctly, and no deaths. If that's the bar for something being clearly too risky such that it needs to be legislated than you're going to be missing out on a lot, which probably includes almost every sport in existence, swimming, steak (chocking hazard), every form of transportation, and any contact with other humans (disease risk).
I think randomly selecting from legally recognized charities would be better than delivering mega millions to plaintiffs.
Whatever you think of this case, there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits out there that wouldn't happen if it wasn't a way to play for big money.
GrahamKennedy wrote:Then make it at that temp and then cool it down before you give it to people.
That's not the case in your other examples; for instance there may be a choking hazard with eating steak, but there's nothing much the company can do to stop that from happening. Or at least nothing reasonable. Letting coffee cool down to the point where it doesn't actually injure people who touch it is a pretty simple fix; they just couldn't be bothered.
Which charities, though? All of them?
sunnyside wrote:I guess to make it clear what I'm saying is if that lady did what she did at any other resturant or even picking up a cup from a friend she would have had the same outcome. Having the temperature at 180 instead of 190 would have reduced that damage, but only slightly and the pictures would look essentially the same.
Reliant121 wrote:In my mind that demonstrates the industry pandering to consumerist desire for speed at the behest of safety is to blame.
sunnyside wrote:...actually that probably goes for most of the rest of the McDonalds menu...but we all love it.
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