‘Be careful that’s hot’


The story of the woman that sued McDonalds after she spilled coffee in her lap is so laughable it’s almost an urban coffee legend.

Resulting in the most painful case of stating the obvious- written on their cups and stated by their staff ‘be careful that’s hot.’

When ordering a cup of coffee, or indeed any ‘hot’ beverage you would expect just that, in fact you would probably complain if it was anything but and if you spilled it on yourself, well that would be your fault- right?

This case, unfortunately became an iconic ‘frivolous lawsuit’ story that spawned a generation of people falling off logs and trying to sue trees.

However, this woman in question was a 79 year old Grandmother names Stella Leibeck and she suffered 16% burns and some of them were 3rd degree…on her groin.

At the time McDonald’s served their coffee at a temperature almost 30 degrees hotter than what people were drinking out of regular coffee makers.

So not actually hot- boiling, scalding and searing.

That and they had received nearly 700 complaints spanning ten years regarding the temperature of their coffee before the trail.

She was awarded 2.9 million dollars, recommended by a jury not fought for by a lawyer.

This random figure was selected based on the fact that this was the revenue generated for McDonalds in coffee sales alone, in 2 days.

Try not to think about how many people could have been burned as severely when you are talking only a few dollars a cup…we think they got off lightly.

Reminds us of the quote ‘Do you know how helpless you feel when you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?’- Jean Kerr.

Be careful now- it’s hot.

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