Hot Coffee at McDonald’s

The case concerns Stella Lieback who was a passenger travelling and at the course of the journey, he was burned or rather scalded in February 1992. This was after he ordered a cup of coffee through the window of MacDonald’s but unfortunately the driver moved the car forward  and the motion led to Lieback suffering from the burns.

Main analysis

Is the hot coffee too dangerous as the jury thought?: the hot coffee is very dangerous according to the judge this is because the judge relied on the medical information from the vascular surgeon which indicated that Lieback suffered third degree burns in approximately 6 percent of her and this was confirmed by her hospitalization. Consequently, the seven hundred claims by various people who had suffered from similar burns occasioned by MacDonald’s coffee which was tabled as evidence.

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Should a reasonable consumer be expected to know that hot coffee can burn and to have assumed this risk? This was confirmed by the quality assurance manager of the MacDonald’s that a an assumption exists both in them and their customers that it is common sense, coffee is hot and it is their customers who know and they want it because its hot. Consumers can only ignore that coffee is hot at their own peril since they themselves demand hot coffee.

Is a warning label sufficient? The label inside the glass of MacDonald according to the quality assurance manager is not a warning label but it is a reminder to the consumers that the coffee is hot. Despite this, MacDonald acknowledged that the label could not warn customers of the hazard and hence was not sufficient.

Is our society too protective of consumers these days, or not protective enough?  As demonstrated in the case, the modern society is not protective of consumers. This is evidenced by the fact that despite MacDonald’s being aware that hot coffee is dangerous; they were not able to place a warning label on the glass (Cain n.d.).

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Conclusion

The Lieback vs. MacDonald case is an indication of how unscrupulous businesses can be brought to task over their negligence. It is also a wake up call to business men and firms that consumers have a right.

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