A second hot coffee lawsuit against McDonald’s?
Another woman has sued McDonald’s after she suffered serious burns when scalding hot coffee from the fast food chain spilled on her lap.
In a case that is eerily similar to what happened to Stella Liebeck, Joan Fino, an elderly California woman, ordered two cups of coffee at a McDonald’s drive-thru in California. The top wasn’t secure on one of the cups of coffee and it spilled in her lap, causing Fino to suffer severe burns to her groin area.
The same thing happened to Liebeck 21 years ago, and she became a national punchline and poster child for so-called “frivolous” lawsuits. The public is finally getting the real story about what happened to Liebeck thanks to the documentary “Hot Coffee.”
The latest case in California seems to indicate that McDonald’s is still serving coffee at dangerous temperatures, despite more than 1,000 complaints and numerous injuries suffered by Liebeck and others.
Nicholas Wagner, an attorney for Fino told the Huffington Post McDonald’s is sacrificing customer safety so its coffee will taste fresh for longer.
Wagner claims that McDonald’s keeps its coffee at dangerously high temperatures so that it tastes fresh for longer periods of time and less coffee is wasted.
“Despite over 1,000 complaints from customers about being burned by the coffee, McDonald’s still continues to brew the coffee at such an exceptionally high temperature,” Wagner said. “They are saving more in production costs in brewing coffee and serving at such high temperature than it costs them to settle the cases with these people who have been injured.”
This is a case that bears watching.
We certainly hope that Ms. Fino’s injuries are taken seriously by the public and that she’s not subjected to the same type of ridicule Ms. Liebeck suffered. But we also know big business and the insurance industry have huge financial incentives to perpetuate the myth of the frivolous lawsuit.