Twenty years after a woman from New Mexico won a lawsuit against McDonald’s over spilled hot coffee, the fast food company is being taken to court again over coffee. A California woman has filed a lawsuit claiming she suffered physical burns when hot coffee was spilled on her at one of the restaurant chains.
Paulette Carr filed the lawsuit last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming that “the lid for the hot coffee was negligently, carelessly and improperly placed on the coffee cup … resulting in the lid coming off the top of the coffee at the window, causing the hot coffee to spill onto the plantiff. She is now seeking unspecified damages.
The case comes 20 years after Stella Leibeck was awarded $2.9 million in damages due to suffering burns on her leg from spilling a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself. The verdict was later reduce to $640,000 and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. However, the ruling was lampooned worldwide and advocates of legal reform used the case as part of their argument.
Leibeck’s daughters said in an interview after her death that she was hurt at being mocked for filing the lawsuit and declared that the facts of the case had been distorted in the media. In the 1994 lawsuit, it was shown that McDonald’s coffee had burned over 700 people in the previous 10 years, including severe burns for some in the inner thighs and genital area. McDonald’s also admitted that its coffee was not “fit for consumption” when sold because it could cause severe scalds if spilled.