>From: Greg Woods <email@example.com>
>Date: Fri, 3 Jan 97 9:50:14 MST
>The example of the McDonald's case, frequently used to show how "ridiculous"
>civil cases can be in this country, left out one important fact: McDonald's
>had previously been officially warned of this danger, and did nothing about
>it. This was more of a punitive award than a merit award. (I'm not saying that
>the awards in some civil cases aren't absurd, just that there's more to the
>McDonald's case than the popular view).
Well, McDonald's made a business decision. Given that our franchisees are
selling convenience, and not tasty food, and given that they are not paying
enough to keep proper help, let's figure that they will make coffee in vast
machines and keep it hot for a long time. In that case, given that we don't
know how clean everything will be at all times, let's ask them to use water at
a high enough temperature so that the bacteria that causes food poisoning
cannot grow in the coffee.
McDonald's actually did claim that the coffee was so hot, and the containers
were designed to retain the heat, so that commuters could bring their breakfast
home or to the office, and still know that their coffee hadn't cooled too much.
And, they probably thought to themselves, how stupid would a person have to be
to hold a cup of coffee BETWEEN her thighs while a passenger in a car? Or,
possibly, it never even entered their minds that such a moron existed.
McDonald's did nothing that was unreasonable.
On the other hand, they should have been sued long ago for how bad a cup of
coffee they used to make...