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View Diary: What? This isn’t a Disney ride? (72 comments)

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  •  McDonalds broke the law (1+ / 0-)
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    By serving coffee at a temperature that seriously damaged a woman. She rquired numerous skin graft surgeries. She endured a great deal of pain. If McDonalds had followed the law, she would not have had the serious damage. McDonalds, NOT the woman, was the negligent party. The served a defective product which caused serious bodily harm. Just like if they undercooked hamburgers and people got food poisoning. But by your stated point of view, the consumer should have been aware the food was dangerous. Just like people should expect their pet foods and toothpaste to NOT be poisonous. Just like they expect their toys not to have lead in them. Seriously, the idea of suing after the fact is a scary remedy to preventing the injuries in the first place.

    So when I go sky diving, I take a risk. But the risk should not include a parachute that doesn't open.
    There were laws to protect this woman from a unsafe product, and McDonalds broke them. I would not want to deal with what that woman did.

    MC=W^3: McCain=W's 3rd term

    by sd4david on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:08:39 AM PDT

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    •  I have amended the diary (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't intend to spend my morning defending McDonalds.

      But, I still disagree with you.  Is it unsafe for a restaurant to serve an hors doeuvre with a toothpick not marked "Remove toothpick before swallowing" because someone might swallow that unsafe toothpick?  Thousands choke to death every year on food.  My brother just had to do the heimlich (sp??) manuever on someone in a BBQ place - should BBQ joints be sued for serving unsafe products because someone may choke?  Maybe we should start requiring pureed food with warnings not to swallow too much at a time?   Sorry, the continued round about McDonalds is making me cranky.

      No law say you have to protect the consumer from every, conceivable injury.  The woman received an award in a tort suit because the jury found the hotter than the average coffee to be unsafe.  I'm sure her injuries were real  I'm sure that the jury wanted to do something to help her and did.  

      I used to work some for RAND Corp.  RAND study - sorry I'm not taking time to find it - showed that most juries view the awards as sort of like a lottery winning that someone deserves.)  Yes, the coffee was hot.  Yes, it injured her.  Yes, there were sufficient facts to support the award under the law.  If I'd been on the jury, I'd have disagreed, OK?  We disagree.  I like hot coffee.  I figure if it says hot, it means hot.

      Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

      by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:28:08 AM PDT

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      •  No, McDonald's should lower the temp on their (1+ / 0-)
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        "They're very good at negative campaigning- they're not so good at governing."
        ~ Barack Obama

        by second gen on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:41:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They broke the law (0+ / 0-)

        It wasn't just that the coffe was hot, it was above the legal temperature to serve it. The woman has a right to expect coffe not burn skin off her body if spilled.

        I ran a landscaping business for ten years. I CONSTANTLY looked for possible dangerous situations, either to correct them, or let my employees know about them. Holes were filled in. Branches were cut. Stumps were removed.

        I see stupid people doing stupid things all the time. And stupid things being done by smart people sometimes.

        So I agree you can't prevent everything. But the lawsuit was directly caused by McDonalds serving coffee to hot. If it was served at the legal temperature, there may have been less damage to the woman. So I think you picked a weak case to make your argument. And you ended up using right wing talking points, which is never a good idea here.

        MC=W^3: McCain=W's 3rd term

        by sd4david on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:42:47 AM PDT

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      •  Since you weren't on the jury (0+ / 0-)

        how do you know what you would have done? And no, it's NOT "OK" for you to say McDonalds can break the law. Or can they serve the food that causes food poisoning and death, because you are comfortable with that? Christ, it sounds like the Bush Administration, ignoring laws that protect the little people in favor of CORPORATIONS.

        THERE IS A LEGAL temperature to serve the coffee. It isn't up to YOUR personal preferences. It's a law to protect consumers. There are lots of laws to protect consumers, but perhaps wie'll leave everything up to your preferences.
        You did NOT see and hear all the facts presented to the jury.

        So perhaps if you are angry, you should be a little more knowlegable about the cases you used in your example. Because from your comments, you still don't "GET" that McDonald's broke a law, and by doing such it lead to serious injuries.

        As per lawsuits, there are some people who "Win the lottery"

        But there are dozens of times in my life that i am financially "injured" by a corporation and do nothing about it. And there are many injuries that are caused by corporations that they win in court because they have deep pockets and the little guy has no chance.

        MC=W^3: McCain=W's 3rd term

        by sd4david on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:52:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In reponse to your posts (2+ / 0-)
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          Clem Yeobright, WolfmanSpike

          I have been trying to research the case more thoroughly.  I have not been able to find anything which refers to any law regulating the allowable temperature of coffee or any law which McDonald's violated.  I don't want to get hung up on which of us "gets" the legal issues, but it was a civil suit, not criminal.  From what I can find, the jury actually found the claimant 20% responsible for the injury and McDonald's 80% responsible under the law of comparable liability in New Mexico.  If you can cite me to any copy of the actual case, I would like to see it.  I'm afraid there is not one because it was not pursued above the trial court level.  There was the large jury award, reduced by the judge, then a confidential settlement by the parties.

          Maybe you are right that I would have felt differently if I was on the jury.

          I do realize from my research after writing my diary that the Republican types seized on this as a poster child case to try to limit product liability lawsuits.  And I agree with you that product liability suits should not be limited.  I am sorry that I hit a hot button by using an example which has been misused by others before this.

          Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

          by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:02:36 AM PDT

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        •  I just updated the diary (0+ / 0-)

          in response primarily to your posts, and to those of others about the McDonald's lawsuit.  I don't want to be pushing a "right wing" talking point, although I understand that you or others may view the entire premise of my diary as such.  I do not apologize for the premise of my diary, but I do apologize for using an example which has been misused by others with whom I think we both disagree.

          Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

          by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:13:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  McD's -- As far as I am aware (3+ / 0-)

          there was no law that said how hot coffee should be.  There was no law that said it should be at this temperature and no more.  I don't think your statement that there was a law that said what temperature the coffee should be is correct -- do you have a link to anything like that?  

          From what I've read about the case, McD served its coffee hotter than most other establishments.  There was no law broken, just that McD was hotter than most others.  The label to the coffee cup said "hot." Customers expect coffee to be hot. The label didn't say how hot it was.  McD claimed that many of its customers liked the coffee to be that hot, so that's why its coffee was hotter than others.  (I tend to believe that, at least in part, because in my experience, big companies like McD's don't do things at random -- everthing they do is pretty much poll tested.)  

          And yes, the jury found the woman partially at fault because, as I recall, she was trying to balance the hot coffee between her legs and open the lid.  The jury found both at fault.  The result is that McD doesn't make their coffee so hot.  That may have eliminated some of this lady's injury.  It also means that people who like really hot coffee, and were going to McD's for that, don't get really hot coffee any more.  

          Whether or not you agree with this verdict, there are clear examples of where lawsuits, and fear of liability, have affected our everyday lives.  I'll give you just one example.  Before Hurricane Katrina (I'm in New Orleans) I lived in an older home with a back yard swimming pool.  The pool was old, too.  Do you know how I can tell?  It had a "deep end" and a diving board.  My kids loved jumping off that diving board. (We were always very careful to have them supervised.) Nobody today will build a back yard pool with a diving board for liability reasons.  When our diving board developed a crack in it many years ago, we had a horrible time finding a replacement.  No one would sell to us for liability reasons.  When we finally found one, the price was way out of line, largely to cover potential liability.  

          We have become a society where one injury is one injury too many.  That is a good goal, of course.  The counter to that, however, is that in pursuit of our goal of eliminating all possible injury, we often eliminate things that have some good to them.  Where is the balance?  How many injuries will we accept in exchange for a product that otherwise is useful or desired by society?  I don't know.  

          •  Thank you for calmly making some points (1+ / 0-)
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            which I should have made better in my comments.  Too much hot coffee has me a little hyped up right now!

            Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

            by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:26:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A good example of this is childproofing (2+ / 0-)
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              coffeetalk, Anti Fanatic

              Although childproofing is sometimes a good idea, it backfires often.

              When I grew up parents had to be responsible enough to keep things out of the reach of children.

              But now it is not the parent's fault if a kid eats enough Tylenol to get sick or die.

              The results:  Childproof caps on drugs.

              So Tylenol and other pain killers sell drugs for arthritis pain with childproof caps which are nearly impossible for the patients to remove.  But kids figured out how to open them quickly.

              Butane lighters have been blamed for countless fires caused by children playing with them.

              Results:  Childproof "striking" mechanisms on the lighters which are fiddly to use and cause the smoker to burn themselves trying to operate the childproofing while lighting the lighter.  But kids figured out all they have to do is put tape on the mechanism and the lighter works all the time.

              I could go on and on and on.

              Responsibility is the key to preventing childhood injuries.  Period.

              Howlin' at the World from the Left Side of the Planet

              by WolfmanSpike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:33:35 AM PDT

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              •  You express the intent of my diary well (2+ / 0-)
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                WolfmanSpike, coffeetalk

                Thank you for the comment that may make more sense than some of mine

                Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

                by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:43:05 AM PDT

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                •  Your're welcome (1+ / 0-)
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                  Anti Fanatic

                  I took 3 years of law school in college.  Didn't finish due to financial situation but thought about going back after all these years.  Now that I have heart disease I can't do what I used to do the way I used to do it so I need an alternative...

                  Howlin' at the World from the Left Side of the Planet

                  by WolfmanSpike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:46:50 AM PDT

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                  •  I was lucky enough to be able (0+ / 0-)

                    to get through law school, after being out working for a while.  Finally paid off the loans!

                    There are some non-traditional law school programs out there.  In California, at least years ago when I was there, it was quite liberal on how you got your education as long as you could pass certain tests along the way.  I know that in the Denver area there was at least one school which offered law school on a part-time basis at odd hours to accomodate those who were working full-time.  Partner in my old law firm there went to law school at night while working a full-time job and raising a baby (breast-pumping in the women's restroom of the law school!)

                    Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

                    by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:59:39 AM PDT

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    •  ADD - I DO agree that suing after the fact (2+ / 0-)
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      murrayewv, Clem Yeobright

      is a lousy way to prevent injuries, although it does work.  Ideally I would like laws to regulate against "unsafe" products such as the ones you mention - lead in toys, poisonous pet foods and tooth paste . . . Oh, wait, we have those I think and the Republicans are not enforcing them!  Violation of those laws are clear legal violations.  A jury award in a civil tort action such as the McDonald's lawsuit is no finding of criminal wrongdoing - and reasonable people, I think, may still disagree about how those should have been decided.

      Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

      by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 09:31:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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