America 's Civil Justice Reform

968 Words4 Pages
Introduction On February 27, 1992, Stella Liebeck, aged 79 at the time, bought a coffee from the drive-thru of a McDonald’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She spilled the coffee on herself and received third-degree (full thickness) burns. She sued McDonald’s and was originally awarded almost $3 million in damages. This case is a perfect example of frivolous litigation and is one of the reasons some Americans think there needs to be civil justice reform. Facts Liebeck was riding as a passenger in her grandson’s car. After receiving her order, he pulled up and stopped so Liebeck could put cream and sugar in her coffee. She placed the Styrofoam coffee between her knees because there was no cup-holder and tried to remove the lid. However, the coffee spilled onto her and she received third-degree burns on her buttocks, genital, groin, and inner thighs. She was hospitalized for eight days and had skin grafts and debridement treatments. Liebeck was also disabled for two years after the accident and permanently scarred. Her daughter took off of work to help take Stella to and from the hospital. She also lost around twenty percent of her bodyweight following the incident. Before going to trial, Liebeck offered to settle for $20, 000, which would cover just her hospital stay and other medical expenses. McDonald’s counteroffered with an amount of $800. Ms. Liebeck then hired an attorney, Reed Morgan, who had requested $90,000. McDonald’s also refused this offer.
Open Document