Note: Split from an Off-Topic Discussion About the TigerDirect Case The McDonald's Coffee Case (Liebeck v. McDonald's Corporation, P.T.S., Inc.) is often citied as the preeminent example of a frivolous lawsuit. Indeed, the summary of a woman spilling coffee on her lap while driving and then suing for millions sounds stupid and a gross insult to common sense. However, this is also an extreme simplification of the facts... The case was initiated after McDonald's refused to reimburse the defendant Stella Liebeck for her medical bills after receiving third-degree burnsthird-degree burns do not heal without skin grafting, debridement and whirlpool treatments that cost tens of thousands of dollars and result in permanent disfigurement, extreme pain and disability of the victim for many months, and in some cases, years. Let it be noted that the case attributed 20% of the accident to Liebeck who clearly wasn't too keen on opening a hot cup of coffee in her lap. It should also be noted that the National Coffee Association recommends coffee be brewed at "between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for "optimal extraction" and drunk "immediately". If not drunk immediately, it should be "maintained at 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit, and indeed this was McDonald's official policy on their coffee. The problem does not arise from these two matters however, it was the result of myriad facts including: * McDonald's had known they had a problem with the way they make their coffee - that their coffee was served much hotter (at least 20 degrees more so) than at other restaurants. * There were numerous cases where others had also incurred serious burns from the coffee, and despite these cases, McDonald's never bothered to consult a burn expert or try and do something with regards to the safety risk. * A McDonald's quality assurance manager testified in the case that the company was aware of the risk of serving dangerously hot coffee and had no plans to either turn down the heat or to post warning about the possibility of severe burns, even though most customers wouldn't think it was possible. The fact of the matter is that the case rested on the question: Does the average person on the street expect coffee bought at a fast food restaurant to cause bodily harm requiring a hospital stay? No.