The Instigator
arrivaltime
Pro (for)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
Statesman
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants (The McDonalds Coffee Case) was not frivolous

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,101 times Debate No: 1288
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (15)

 

arrivaltime

Pro

Stella Liebeck sued McDonalds when she spilled hot coffee on herself.

The case has commonly been made fun of because a lot of people believe the woman should have known the coffee would be hot-- however, these people apparently never actually read anything about the lawsuit.

Stella Liebeck suffered 3rd degree burns from the coffee all over her butt, groin, and thighs. She had to get skin grafts.
She was parked when she opened the coffee to put cream and sugar in it.

During the trial, it was brought out that McDonalds was supposed to serve their coffee at 180-190 degrees farenheit, which was hot enough to give 3rd degree burns in 2-7 seconds.

It was also brought out that in 10 years there were over 700 reports of people burnt by the coffee to varying degrees of severity.

The Health Department had warned McDonalds to lower the temperature of their coffee before but they had not.

So, when people say "idiots can sue McDonalds for having hot coffee" in reference to frivolous lawsuits, they obviously haven't researched it at all.
Statesman

Con

Despite what you think about McDonalds serving their coffee at that temperature. McDonalds did not spill the coffee on Liebeck. Her lawsuit was frivolous. What if I sued a company that made hammers because I broke my accidently hit my thumb and broke it with a hammer while nailing it. It's not like Liebeck was sitting there thinking "I'm sure this coffee is not 180-190 degrees it's ok if I spill it on myself." Regardless of the temperature I'm sure that Liebeck was attempting not to spill the coffee on herself. You cannot sue someone because of your mistake. In order for this lawsuit to be valid you would have to prove that the coffee cup was unsafe. Then you would have a valid lawsuit.
Debate Round No. 1
arrivaltime

Pro

It's not what I think it's what the health department, 12 jury members, 700 other people who complained, and a judge think about the temperature.

Your analogy doesn't work.

McDonald's sold their coffee so that it was almost at boiling temperature which was against the health department's standards. They had received many complaints.

Liebeck didn't even sue at first, she asked for them to pay for her skin grafts, because normal coffee doesn't give you 3rd Degree burns.

Also you seem to think the Liebeck sued because the coffee spilled. She didn't. She sued because the coffee's temperature was unsafe. Even if she hadn't spilled it she would have drank it and it would have burned her.

"In order for this lawsuit to be valid you would have to prove that the coffee cup was unsafe. Then you would have a valid lawsuit."

No, in order for the lawsuit to be valid it would have to prove that the temperature of the coffee was unsafe. And that's exactly what prosecution did.
Statesman

Con

You still haven't proved that my analogy doesn't hold up. Hundreds of everyday objects we use could be extremely dangerous. If you accidently hurt yourself with them it's not the makers fault. Also we're debating the validity of the lawsuit not what twelve jurors decided. Jurors are average people who are fallible. They are not professionals in the law field. As to the 700 people who complained, why didn't they sue also? The only reason Liebeck won the case was because there was no label on the lid warning that the coffee was hot. Again, I regardless of the temperature of the coffee Liebeck would not have tried to spill coffee on herself. The warning on the lid would not have kept her from spilling it on herself. This is just another example of people not taking responsibility for themselves and always trying to blaim someone else for their problems.
Debate Round No. 2
arrivaltime

Pro

You totally ignored my entire argument.

THE LAWSUIT WAS NOT OVER HER SPILLING THE COFFEE. IT WAS OVER THE TEMPERTURE.

Your analogy doesn't work because if you sell a DEFECTIVE hammer, the company who sold it IS negligent.

And it wasn't just a jury, it was a judge.

You didn't study the case at all, you relied on hearsy and did no reading on your own-- if you did, you would realize the case was not frivolous.
Statesman

Con

First, there have been other cases in which people did try to sue Mcdonalds for burns from coffee. Most of the judges however dismissed the cases. Second, Starbucks, Burger King, and other places that sell coffee also serve it at 180 degrees or higher temperature. The National Coffee Association (yes there is one) suggests that coffee be brewed between 195 degrees and 205 degrees F. and be consumed "immediately." If not consumed immediately it should be kept at 180-185 degrees farenheit. Third, The attorney for Liebeck sued McDonalds for coffee burns even after McDonalds lowered the temperature of their coffee to 155 degrees farenheit. Not a convenient fact for someone trying to prove that this was not a frivolous lawsuit. Fourth, I've read many accounts of this case and apparently the cotton sweatpants that Liebeck was wearing absorbed the coffee and held it next to her skin for 90 seconds. That is what really caused the obcene amount of burn damage. Fifth, the judge actually lowered the amount of money awarded to Liebeck by the jury. Last but not least, the jury awarded Liebeck the money based on the fact that the warning was not on the lid but on the side of the cup. Again I say, having the warning on the lid of the cup would not have prevented Liebeck from accidently spilling coffee on herself.
Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
The con made superior arguments, thus I must hand him my vote. The pro's third round really screwed herself over in her third round as she just repeated herself despite the the con had sufficiently answered her previously.
Posted by arrivaltime 9 years ago
arrivaltime
Oooh or flag burning or welfare orr national healthcare...we have lots to choose from
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
No, just venting.

I agree with you on marijuana. If they can ever find a way to test the level of inebriation. Maybe border fence or police profiling then.
Posted by arrivaltime 9 years ago
arrivaltime
Oh, I thought since you posted under my debate.

Okidoke-- although for drug legalization I should have you know atm I just mean marijuana.
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
Don't worry, I wasn't implying that. Look out for a challenge from me soon. Looking at your profile I would say drug legalization.
Posted by arrivaltime 9 years ago
arrivaltime
Wasn't me, scout's honor (well I was a brownie but same thing).
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
Wow, I must of pissed someone off. In the last 10 minutes I had 2 people go through ALL of my debates and vote against me. Such maturity
Posted by goldspurs 9 years ago
goldspurs
No harm done.

I understand what you are saying about the skin grafts, it is just my opinion that personal responsibility, or irresponsibility, was to blame not the corporation.

Sorry about the mix up. Yes he doesn't appear to of read the debate. Obviously he doesn't understand the concept of message boards.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
I am voting with con because the argument was better , also I have read up on the case and con is right she was awarded the money because there was no warning label on the cup ... in my opinion if you can't figure out that the coffee is hot , thats your own fault. I get hot chocolate all the time from Dunkin Donuts and I ask for xtra milk and then I let it sit until it is cool enough to drink .
Posted by arrivaltime 9 years ago
arrivaltime
Sorry gold, but given that in the last two days most of my arguments were from and against you, I was getting agitated.

Frivolous lawsuits mean that there were no grounds to make the lawsuit and I thought I proved she did when I said she had to get skin grafts.

Also I didn't get those facts from a website :( I did need a few refreshing numbers but on the whole I learned it all last year when my class studied frivolous lawsuit and had this same debate.

Also I know you read the debate, I wasn't accusing you, I was accusing mmad-- if you read his comment you'd have to agree.
15 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
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