ARCH - MacDonald's Coffee

Scott Powers spowers at
Wed Apr 11 23:49:30 PDT 2001

>The cold truth is that McDonalds has to pay for people who spill coffee
>in their lap

The story about the McDonalds coffee has turned into an urban legend to the
point that people are quoting all kinds of things about it.

One of my lawyers read up on that case and had this to say.

As reported in the news, McDonalds did get a judgement against them for a
little over 2 million dollars for coffee that was too hot.  However, the
size of the judgement was later overturned on appeal and was changed to a
vastly lower amount.  I don't know the exact figure, but I think it was
around $100,000.  As for liability, the coffee _really_was_ too hot.  It
was far hotter than comparable machines in other McDonalds, and that
particular store had been warned several times to lower the temperature of
the coffee.  They did not comply.  Hence the liability.

So yes, we live in a litigious society.  But some sanity is creeping back
into the legal system.  It is possible that an insurance company could sue
an archer for a damaged eye.  But I would think it is probable that they
would be successful only if the archer was violating the rules.  Combat
archers would make poor targets for litigation anyway because there just
isn't that much money in our pockets.  Insurance companies almost always
balance the cost of pursuing the litigation against the potential return
and likelihood of getting it.  So they rarely pursue individuals unless
that individual has lots of money.

To compare this to the medical profession, a patient can sue an employee in
a hospital for malpractice.  But they virtually always fail to get a
judgement against the employee because the employee is under the
supervision of both a supervisor and a doctor.  So they suits are directed
towards the hospital and the doctor because 1) they are the supervising
authorities and 2) they have the deep pockets.  Source: my lawyer again.
In this case, it is the SCA that has deep pockets (relatively).  And the
SCA is the supervising authority.  So they would almost certainly be the
target of litigation, not individuals.

By the way, I hope that the SCA marshals of all types take the safety issue
very seriously when doing their jobs.  Not only is the safety and
well-being of our friends at stake, but the financial well-being of the SCA
could be jeopardized.

A bad policy regarding eye-safety could do the same thing.

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