The McDonald’s hot coffee case occurred on February 27, 1992. Stella Liebeck, 79 year old woman, took McDonalds to court for being burned by hot coffee she purchased. While the car was not moving, but said to have been stopped at the time, Stella had the McDonalds cup of coffee between her legs and as she tried to open the lid the cup tipped over and burned her. This incident caused third degree burns on 16 percent of her body; she was hospitalized for eight days, had extensive skin treatment, skin grafts, and permanent scars and became disabled for two years.
By corporate specifications, McDonalds is required to serve coffee between 180 – 190 degrees, while the victim’s coffee was 185 degrees, and coffee usually made at home is 135-140 degrees. In the past, 700 McDonald’s customers were burned before this incident, including third degree burns. Under due care As a fast food restaurant, McDonalds serves its customers hot coffee without providing warning signs that it will harm them. McDonalds has had 700 claims of coffee being too hot and burning its customers.
McDonalds never addressed these claims. McDonalds is a successful fast food restaurant in which marketing plays a big role in running its stores and there was now specific label on the lid which lets customers know their coffee is hotter than a normal coffee or that customers should wait for a specific amount of time before opening coffee. McDonalds is morally obligated to warn customers coffee temperature because it will cause a great deal of harm to, not one, but most customers.
McDonalds is liable to promote the greatest good, and therefore warn customer on packaging or change temperature requirements when serving its coffee. McDonalds ought to be liable, under due care, for the harm caused to customers who are burned by McDonald’s hot coffee. Under strict product liability McDonalds serves hot coffee to its customers, in which is not drinkable when served. McDonald’s hot coffee is 30 degrees above the average coffee served in a store, and 40 degrees coffee made in a home.
The coffee temperature is so hot that it is hot enough to cause third degree burns, permanent scaring, and disability according to which part of the body the coffee comes in contact with. McDonald’s coffee contains no detailed warning of the harm it will cause to its customer. As a defective product McDonalds is not fit for use because customers do not expect there coffee to be that high in temperature and not ready to be consumed at the time it is served.