New Hot Coffee Case

Newsflash: hot coffee is still hot.  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

A Texas woman recently filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming the lid on the coffee she was handed at the drive-through was defective, so the coffee spilled on her lap causing first and second-degree burns.  It remains to be seen if the lid was actually defective or if the plaintiff loosened it.

But any time people hear about a hot coffee case, they think of the McDonald’s case, in which a woman won three million dollars after she was burned by hot coffee.  That case is used as an example of an out-of-control legal system, probably because people don’t know that McDonald’s knew its coffee, which was 20 degrees hotter than other restaurants, caused more than 700 severe burns, including to the plaintiff who was burned so badly she needed skin grafts.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t protect yourself from obvious risks when you see them, just that—like a jury is instructed to do—maybe withhold judgment until all the facts are in.

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