The truth about the 'McDonald's Coffee Incident' that spilled coffee and received a large amount of compensation
McDonald's Coffee Incident ' is an incident in McDonald's, New Mexico, USA, where Stella Liebeck spilled hot coffee purchased through a drive-through on her knee and was burned. It is a trial over. It seems that the case is generally recognized as 'a grandmother spilled coffee bought at McDonald's and was injured, and as a result of filing a lawsuit, she got a compensation of hundreds of millions of yen and became a rich man.' Seems to be quite different, and The New York Times has released a movie called ' Burned by McDonald's Hot Coffee, Then the News Media ' that tells the truth about the McDonald's coffee case.
Burned by McDonald's Hot Coffee, Then the News Media
In February 1992, then 79-year-old Leebeck bought breakfast with his grandson at a drive-through in McDonald's, New Mexico.
Leebeck decided to park his car in the McDonald's parking lot and eat the breakfast he had just purchased in the car, so he decided to put it between his knees because there was no place to put hot coffee in the car.
When I removed the lid to drink hot coffee, the cup accidentally tilted and all the coffee spilled on Stella's lap.
'The only thing I remember at that time was getting out of the car door, screaming at the heat,' Stella said.
burns, degree III burns . After that, Stella will be hospitalized for a week for treatment.
Stella's injuries were worse than expected, with 16% of her body burned, 6% of which were the most serious
The cost of the treatment amounted to 10,000 dollars (about 1 million yen), and even after the treatment was over, the wound did not heal completely, and it seems that there were burn marks on Stella's leg.
Suffering from burns, Stella sends McDonald's a document asking him to 'refund the treatment costs' and 'reconfirm the temperature of the hot coffee.'
However, according to Stella's daughter Judy Allen, McDonald's reply was only 'pay $ 800 (about 80,000 yen).'
Disappointed with McDonald's response, Stella consults with Ken Wagner and decides to file a trial against McDonald's. Attorney Wagner said, 'After receiving a request from Mr. Stella, I went to McDonald's and bought hot coffee. I think it was not an exaggeration to say that hot coffee is quite hot and dangerous,' he said at the time. ..
'I wanted McDonald's to cool down the temperature of hot coffee, I just didn't want others to experience the pain of me,' Stella explained. ..
According to McDonald's policy, 'the hot coffee we serve is 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit (about 82-88 degrees Celsius)'.
Hot coffee made at home is about 160 degrees Fahrenheit (about 77 degrees Celsius), and McDonald's hot coffee is a little hotter than general ones.
Experts have found that if you spill 180 degrees Fahrenheit on your skin, you will get a III degree burn within about 15 seconds.
In addition, at the trial, he submitted a document showing that there were 700 complaints similar to Mr. Stella in the past 10 years.
In response to the plaintiff's complaint, McDonald's argued that 'the number of burn complaints is about once in 2.4 million, which is a fairly rare case statistically, so there is no need to lower the temperature of hot coffee.' did.
He also claimed that McDonald's coffee wasn't particularly hot compared to other fast food restaurants.
According to a McDonald's lawyer, the McDonald's coffee evaluation report states that 'McDonald's hot coffee is very hot, but that's good' as a customer's evaluation, and the temperature of the hot coffee is also appropriate. It was set based on various standards.
The McDonald's side did not take a step back to Stella's claim and did not know the whereabouts of the trial, but the plaintiff's side released a photo of Stella's painful burn, and the flow of the trial suddenly It will be a favorable development for Mr. Stella.
'I think the jury understood the legitimacy of our allegations by publishing an image of Stella's burns,' Wagner said of the trial.
A jury review found that McDonald's had 80% negligence and Stella had 20% negligence for spilling hot coffee himself. After that, McDonald's will be ordered to pay Stella the original amount of compensation of 160,000 dollars (about 16 million yen), which is 80% of the certified amount of compensation of 200,000 dollars (about 20 million yen).
In addition, it was decided to pay Stella $ 2.7 million (about 270 million yen), which is equivalent to two days of McDonald's coffee sales, as punitive damages.
Albuquerque Journal , it will spread to national newspapers.
This sensational ruling naturally attracts the attention of the media. Starting with the first publication of the local newspaper
According to Wagner, after the trial, he was interviewed by various media in each country and noticed the magnitude of the impact of the trial for the first time.
Stella's news will spread not only in the United States but around the world.
Due to the amount of damages, the news was widely reported, but few media reported the details of the matter.
It is reported on a TV news program, but it is said that 'I spilled hot coffee between my knees while driving', which is a little different from the fact.
Allen said, 'The over-reporting of the media has made my mother's impression very bad. It felt as if the media was bullying her,' she said at the time.
Stella's name is known as 'the person who spilled coffee and made a lot of money', and it will be treated as a story not only in news programs but also in comedy programs.
However, in the end, a settlement was reached between the two parties, and McDonald's only paid Stella a settlement of less than $ 500,000 (about 50 million yen), and Stella received compensation of hundreds of millions of yen. There is no fact.
Unfortunately, Stella's bad reputation, which once spread, will not be overturned, and it will be featured in the popular American TV animation series ' Futurerama ', and the McDonald's Coffee case will be treated as a classic story in a funny way. I will.
Stella passed away in 2004. Allen tearfully confesses, 'The 20 years my mother spent after the McDonald's Coffee incident was very painful. I was always wondering how long this situation would last.'
'The saddest story about the McDonald's Coffee case is that Stella's post-incident life has struggled with her reputation,' said John Llewellyn, a professor of communications at Wake Forest University. I am analyzing the whole story of.
The only good thing is that McDonald's decided after the trial to lower the temperature of hot coffee to 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit (about 77-82 degrees Celsius) as Stella requested.