The Stella Liebeck Story – Serious Burns, Hot Coffee, and a Lot of drama

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In 1992, Stella Liebeck, a 79 year old woman from Albuquerque, New Mexico, sued McDonald's after she sustained third-degree burns on her thighs, buttocks, and groin when she accidentally spilled coffee on herself.

The coffee that Ms. Liebeck spilled was extremely hot – between 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit – and caused severe burns on her skin.

Ms. Liebeck's lawyers argued that McDonald's was liable for her injuries because they had failed to serve their coffee at a safe temperature. After a long legal battle, Ms. Liebeck was ultimately awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages and $480,000 in punitive damages.

What Kind Of Burns Did Stella Liebeck Have?

Stella Liebeck had third-degree burns, which are the most serious kind. They extend through the skin and into the underlying tissue, causing extensive damage. They often require skin grafts to heal properly.


What Happened Stella Liebeck?

In 1992, Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman, ordered coffee from a McDonald's drive-thru. After receiving the coffee, she placed it between her legs while she attempted to remove the lid. The coffee spilled and caused third-degree burns in her pelvic region. Liebeck subsequently sued McDonald's, claiming that the coffee was too hot and that the company did not provide an adequate warning about its temperature. After a lengthy trial, Liebeck was awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages and $480,000 in punitive damages. However, the verdict was later overturned on appeal.

How Much Money Did Mrs Liebeck Actually Receive?

The jury awarded Liebeck $200,000 in compensatory damages — reduced to $160,000 because the jury found her 20 percent at fault — and $2.7 million in punitive damages for McDonald's callous conduct. (To put this in perspective, McDonald's revenue from coffee sales alone is in excess of $1.3 million a day.)

What Temperature Was The McDonald's Coffee?

The McDonald's coffee was served at a temperature between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit. This is 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the coffee served at most other restaurants.

What Degree Burn Is Coffee?

Coffee can cause first-degree, second-degree, or even third-degree burns. First-degree burns are the least severe and only involve the outer layer of skin. Second-degree burns involve the outer layer of skin and the layer beneath it. Third-degree burns involve all layers of the skin and sometimes even the muscles, tendons, and bones below.

On What Theory Did Ms Liebeck's Attorney Base The Lawsuit Upon?

Liebeck's attorney based the lawsuit on a theory of negligence. This theory holds that a person or company is responsible for any injuries that are caused by their negligence. In this case, the restaurant was negligent in heating the coffee to such a high temperature. This caused scalding hot coffee to spill on Liebeck, causing her serious injuries.


Why Did McDonald's Serve Coffee So Hot?

McDonald's served coffee so hot because it made the coffee taste better. At temperatures over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, drinks can cause serious burns, but McDonald's kept its coffee temperature between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit in order to make sure that their coffee tasted as good as possible.

How Many Times Has McDonald's Been Taken To Court?

More than 20 lawsuits have been brought against McDonald's Corporation in relation to the issue of obesity, including cases alleging that the company is responsible for the problems of its customers. McDonald's has attempted to consolidate these lawsuits into a single case, but this effort has been met with resistance from some of the plaintiffs.

Who Sued McDonald's For Making Them Fat?

In 2002, Caesar Barber filed a lawsuit against McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and KFC, claiming that their greasy and salty had made him obese and unhealthy. Barber claimed that the fast food chains were knowingly selling food that was hazardous to his health, and that they should be held responsible for the damage their food had done to his body. The case went to trial in 2005, but was ultimately dismissed.

How Hot Was The McDonalds Coffee That Burned The Lady?

The coffee that burned the lady was heated to somewhere between 180 to 190 degrees. This means that it was very hot and could easily cause burns. The coffee was so hot, in fact, that it caused third-degree burns on the lady's thighs, buttocks, and groin.

Why Did Ms Liebeck's Lawyers Believe That McDonalds Was Liable To Ms Liebeck?

Mrs. Liebeck's lawyers believed that McDonalds was liable to Mrs. Liebeck because they served their coffee at an unreasonably high temperature. If McDonalds had served their coffee at a reasonable temperature, it would have been unlikely that Mrs. Liebeck's injuries would've been so severe.

How Did Stella Liebeck Prove Negligence?

To prove negligence, Stella Liebeck had to show that McDonald's had a duty to her, that they breached that duty, and that the breach was the direct and proximate cause of her injuries.

McDonald's had a duty to Stella Liebeck to serve coffee at a temperature that would not cause serious burns. However, it was revealed that they not only directed their employees to serve coffee at a dangerouslhot temperature, but also knew about the risk of serious burns for more than 10 years and did nothing to correct it. This constituted a breach of their duty to Stella Liebeck, which was the direct and proximate cause of her injuries.

Can You Sue For Hot Coffee?

Yes, you can sue for hot coffee. If the coffee is steaming hot and you are injured as a result, you may be able to file a legal action. The key is to prove that the coffee was defective in some way and that this caused your injuries. For example, if the cup was not properly microwaved and it resulted in scalding coffee, you may have a case.

Is McDonalds Coffee Still Hot?

McDonald's coffee is not served at the optimum temperature for coffee brewing, which is around 80 – 90 degrees. Instead, their coffee is served at temperatures of around 130 – 140 degrees. This high temperature can result in a burnt flavor, and can also lead to a loss of flavor and aroma.

What Temp Is Starbucks Coffee?

According to a beverage resource manual, the standard temperature for hot Starbucks drinks is between 150 and 170 degrees. Children's drinks are typically served at 130 degrees.

Woman Burned by McDonald's Hot Coffee, Then the News Media


Stella Liebeck was a woman who suffered serious burns as a result of coffee that was served to her at an unreasonably high temperature by McDonald's. Her lawyers believed that McDonald's was liable to Stella for their negligence, and were able to prove this in court. As a result of the lawsuit, McDonald's changed the way they serve coffee so that it is not as hot.

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Sanjeev Singh

Sanjeev is the tech editor at DeviceMAG. He has a keen interest in all things technology, and loves to write about the latest developments in the industry. He has a passion for quality-focused journalism and believes in using technology to make people's lives better. He has worked in the tech industry for over 15 years, and has written for some of the biggest tech blogs in the world. Sanjeev is also an avid photographer and loves spending time with his family.