HBO has recently released a documentary entitled Hot Coffee which explores the infamous McDonald’s lawsuit in which Ms. Stella Liebeck spilled McDonald’s coffee on herself, suffering severe burns to the high temperature of the coffee, who funded the media blitz, and why.
Watch the trailer below or click here to see it on Youtube: Hot Coffee Trailer
Click here to visit the Hot Coffee Movie Homepage
Certain financial interests in the US have used this lawsuit as an example of a frivolous lawsuit in order to demonize and vilify people who bring lawsuits against others. The propaganda has been very effective and currently people believe that frivolous lawsuits are ruining our country.
The problem with the propaganda is that it only told part of the story.
Stella Liebeck was in the passenger seat of her grandson’s vehicle when she got a coffee from a McDonald’s drive through in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1992. Her grandson pulled over for her to put sugar and cream in her coffee so she put the cup between her knees and when she tried to open the top the coffee spilled on her. Ms. Liebeck suffered both internal and external third degree burns over 6% of her body. She was hospitalized for eight days and required skin grafts to treat her burns.
A McDonald’s document showed that coffee was to be kept between 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas coffee made elsewhere is typically between 134-140 degrees. McDonald’s qualify assurance manager testified that any food above 140 degrees was considered to be a burn hazard, but that they no intention of reducing the coffee temperature. In fact, there had been over 700 claims of people burned by their coffee in the prior 10 years.
We hope that you watch the documentary to get the full story.