Stella Awards

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  #16  
Old 08-19-2023, 08:28 AM
Nell57 Nell57 is offline
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Originally Posted by Transplant View Post
You should probably Google what really happened with the McDonald's coffee. The health inspector cited them prior to this about their coffee was too hot. Yup. They were ordered to turn it down but ignored it. That person underwent 2 or 3 skin graphs.
Yes, if you saw pictures of the severity of the burns, you would also have found McDonalds negligent.
The $$ amount of the award equaled one day of McDonald’s coffee sales.
I’m a regular drinker of Mickey D’s coffee. They now carefully monitor the temperature.
They got the message
  #17  
Old 08-19-2023, 08:38 AM
manaboutown manaboutown is offline
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As I heard it McD's heated the water so much to get more coffee out of the ground beans.

BTW I have been to that particular McD's a few times. Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants - Wikipedia.
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  #18  
Old 08-19-2023, 08:51 AM
Battlebasset Battlebasset is offline
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Not true, yes, but abuse really happens. A real case from my time in the insurance world:

Parents were cooking meth in their house. The chemicals caught on fire and the parents rushed to put it out, as well as start dumping the chemicals out the back door, as they feared the cops/fire fighters would see it.

In the meantime, the fire has spread, catching the children on fire. They run out the front door, and are only alive because someone driving by saw them on fire in the front yard, and rushed to put them out.

They suffered horrific burns over most of their bodies. I can never get those pictures out of my mind.

They attempted to sue the manufacturer/import company for a lamp that they said was electrically faulty. That started the fire, not them cooking meth with flammable chemicals. Right. Perhaps they really did it with the guilty realization that they needed money to help their kids, but somehow, I doubt that. Just a couple of horrific grifters. The sad thing is that they found a law firm to take the case, thus us having to deal with the claim. It was reserved in the millions.

I moved on, and never found out the result, but yes, this kind of stuff does happen.

So as not to end this on a downer, a friend of mine was at a restaurant near a bay, and their cocktail napkins had a drawing of the bay, with some of the landmarks labeled. At the bottom of the napkin was a disclaimer - Not for navigation purposes. Yup. Everyone knows that you use the map on the front of the menu for navigation. More detail, and if laminated, waterproof.
  #19  
Old 08-19-2023, 08:59 AM
donfey donfey is offline
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Originally Posted by sloanst View Post
We truly are a country of idiots. How do these people get into the jury pool?
Because too many juries are comprised of people not smart enough to get out of jury duty.
  #20  
Old 08-19-2023, 12:58 PM
Stu from NYC Stu from NYC is offline
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Originally Posted by manaboutown View Post
As I heard it McD's heated the water so much to get more coffee out of the ground beans.

BTW I have been to that particular McD's a few times. Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants - Wikipedia.
So what. You are supposed to know coffee is served hot and take precautions such as not holding it between your legs.

I like instant coffee and pour it into my mug after it boils. Seems like I never put it in a place where it will come in contact with sensitive areas of my body.

Not that hard.
  #21  
Old 08-19-2023, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Stu from NYC View Post
So what. You are supposed to know coffee is served hot and take precautions such as not holding it between your legs.

I like instant coffee and pour it into my mug after it boils. Seems like I never put it in a place where it will come in contact with sensitive areas of my body.

Not that hard.
"Now for the facts:

Mrs. Liebeck was not driving when her coffee spilled, nor was the car she was in moving. She was the passenger in a car that was stopped in the parking lot of the McDonald’s where she bought the coffee. She had the cup between her knees while removing the lid to add cream and sugar when the cup tipped over and spilled the entire contents on her lap.

The coffee was not just “hot,” but dangerously hot. McDonald’s corporate policy was to serve it at a temperature that could cause serious burns in seconds. Mrs. Liebeck’s injuries were far from frivolous. She was wearing sweatpants that absorbed the coffee and kept it against her skin. She suffered third-degree burns (the most serious kind) and required skin grafts on her inner thighs and elsewhere.

Liebeck’s case was far from an isolated event. McDonald’s had received more than 700 previous reports of injury from its coffee, including reports of third-degree burns, and had paid settlements in some cases.

Mrs. Liebeck offered to settle the case for $20,000 to cover her medical expenses and lost income. But McDonald’s never offered more than $800, so the case went to trial. The jury found Mrs. Liebeck to be partially at fault for her injuries, reducing the compensation for her injuries accordingly. But the jury’s punitive damages award made headlines — upset by McDonald’s unwillingness to correct a policy despite hundreds of people suffering injuries, they awarded Liebeck the equivalent of two days’ worth of revenue from coffee sales for the restaurant chain. That wasn’t, however, the end of it. The original punitive damage award was ultimately reduced by more than 80 percent by the judge. And, to avoid what likely would have been years of appeals, Mrs. Liebeck and McDonald’s later reached a confidential settlement.

Here is some of the evidence the jury heard during the trial:
McDonald’s operations manual required the franchisee to hold its coffee at 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coffee at that temperature, if spilled, causes third-degree burns in three to seven seconds.
The chairman of the department of mechanical engineering and biomechanical engineering at the University of Texas testified that this risk of harm is unacceptable, as did a widely recognized expert on burns, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, the leading scholarly publication in the specialty.
McDonald’s admitted it had known about the risk of serious burns from its scalding hot coffee for more than 10 years. The risk had repeatedly been brought to its attention through numerous other claims and suits.
An expert witness for the company testified that the number of burns was insignificant compared to the billions of cups of coffee the company served each year.
At least one juror later told the Wall Street Journal she thought the company wasn’t taking the injuries seriously. To the corporate restaurant giant those 700 injury cases caused by hot coffee seemed relatively rare compared to the millions of cups of coffee served. But, the juror noted, “there was a person behind every number and I don’t think the corporation was attaching enough importance to that.”
McDonald’s quality assurance manager testified that McDonald’s coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured into Styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn the mouth and throat.
McDonald’s admitted at trial that consumers were unaware of the extent of the risk of serious burns from spilled coffee served at McDonald’s then-required temperature.
McDonald’s admitted it did not warn customers of the nature and extent of this risk and could offer no explanation as to why it did not.

In a story about the case published shortly after the verdict was delivered in 1994, one of the jurors said over the course of the trial he came to realize the case was about “callous disregard for the safety of the people.” Another juror said “the facts were so overwhelmingly against the company.”

That’s because those jurors were able to hear all the facts — including those presented by McDonald’s — and see the extent of Mrs. Liebeck’s injuries. Ask anyone who criticizes the case as a “frivolous lawsuit” that resulted in “jackpot justice” if they have done the same."

From: "Know the Facts:" Resources for Consumers
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  #22  
Old 08-19-2023, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by hypart View Post
In the Liebeck v McDonald's case, she did not win that money. It was punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to the government and state.

The reason the jury awarded punitive damages is because other older consumers had also burned themselves by spilling hot coffee leading to severe injury.

The reason McDonald's lost punitive damages is due to the fact their coffee was 10 degrees hotter than any other coffee in the industry. They knew that when people were spilling coffee it was leading to severe burns. They didn't care. And older consumers are more vulnerable than others since they have much softer skin leading to severe injury.

This case is often ridiculed for being frivolous. But once you consider the facts that were presented in the trial, it is not. You may not agree with the jury, but the conclusion was within reason.
Very true. That woman suffered through surgeries because of their negligence. They had been warned to stop nuking the coffee to such a hot temp and they didn't care and kept doing it.
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  #23  
Old 08-19-2023, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by deborahcme View Post
We are all too savvy now to be taken in by the "Stella awards" which seem to perennially pop up on the web. From the headline, I, too, thought it was going to be about beer or possibly A Streetcar Name Desire. Har, har! Fun to read with the AM coffee tho!
Really? Have you read the responses from more than a few posters who actually believe they are true?
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  #24  
Old 08-20-2023, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by donfey View Post
Because too many juries are comprised of people not smart enough to get out of jury duty.
I have often tried to get on the jury. In Sonoma County, CA the prosecutor bumped me off while the judge said he had seen me in the law library. I had been checking their resources for victims/survivors of crimes. In Pinellas County, FL I got tossed when I said I had a law degree. Up in Ocala in Federal Count the Judge removed me for being short with my answers. Had wanted to stay as the case was interesting and I was seated between two beautiful ladies. In Sumter County #1 the defendant plead guilty and the judge let us go before we got to questions from the judge and lawyers. Sumter County #2 I wrote the Clerk of Court that it would be hard for me to explain my interactions with the legal system in a few sentences to a judge and/or lawyers among potential jury members. In Sumter County #3 I requested to be taken off because I was needed to take care of family members.

But I really did want to serve on a jury. You get to see the legal system in action from up close.

Last edited by Taltarzac725; 08-20-2023 at 08:03 AM.
  #25  
Old 08-20-2023, 04:10 PM
Pamela1130 Pamela1130 is offline
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Originally Posted by JohnN View Post
It's time for the annual " Stella Awards"! For those unfamiliar, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico, where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. Here are the Stella's for this year:

7th PLACE - Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

6th PLACE - Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

5th PLACE - Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, CT, was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish.







Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.

4th PLACE - Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun

3rd PLACE - Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2nd PLACE - Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses.

1st PLACE - This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?

$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home.

Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
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In closing, I was both surprised and disappointed that no Villagers made the Stella's Top 10. C'mon gang, dig deep and try harder.
Regarding the coffee suit, this is the real story. Much different then I thought until someone told me about it.

What a lot of people get wrong about the infamous 1994 McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit - Vox
  #26  
Old 08-20-2023, 05:38 PM
manaboutown manaboutown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taltarzac725 View Post
I have often tried to get on the jury. In Sonoma County, CA the prosecutor bumped me off while the judge said he had seen me in the law library. I had been checking their resources for victims/survivors of crimes. In Pinellas County, FL I got tossed when I said I had a law degree. Up in Ocala in Federal Count the Judge removed me for being short with my answers. Had wanted to stay as the case was interesting and I was seated between two beautiful ladies. In Sumter County #1 the defendant plead guilty and the judge let us go before we got to questions from the judge and lawyers. Sumter County #2 I wrote the Clerk of Court that it would be hard for me to explain my interactions with the legal system in a few sentences to a judge and/or lawyers among potential jury members. In Sumter County #3 I requested to be taken off because I was needed to take care of family members.

But I really did want to serve on a jury. You get to see the legal system in action from up close.
In New Mexico by statute lawyers and even judges can serve on juries. I suppose this is the case (pardon my pun) because the relatively large state historically has been and remains sparsely populated. Thus over the years I was called to jury duty occasionally - but not to the Liebeck vs McDonald's Restaurants trial. My oddest experience occurred in the atomic town and county of Los Alamos which had a population of fewer than 18,000 souls at the time. A resident had been killed or injured, I do not recall which, in a VW Beetle and VW was being sued for not incorporating a protective bar in its door frame. Anyway, I had filled out and turned in early in the morning one of the forms handed to all prospective jurors on which I reported that I was an attorney licensed to practice in New Mexico. I was amazed that I was not soon dismissed under voir dire and enjoyed sitting through the procedure most of the day. What astonished me was how surly the lead VW attorney was. Around 4;00 p.m. he finally called out my name and I responded "here". He lit into me about not telling anyone I was an attorney. I responded that no one had asked me until now, that I had written it on the form I turned in that he had obviously failed to read until just prior to calling my name. I was of course dismissed but I enjoyed the process.
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