Hot Coffee Case

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・6 Sources

Hot Coffee is one of the landmark cases of tort law. The Hot coffee case involves a restaurant that used to sell Hot coffee where the plaintiff is Liebeck and the defendant being McDonalds Restaurant. An example that featured in the year 1995. Where a woman spilled hot coffee to her laps and got third-degree burns later on She sued the restaurant for suffering severe injuries and got paid money to cover her medical bills. Tort is a civil wrong. It can be categorized into three. They are ground lawsuits for compensation of the plaintiff for the damages and injuries. (Baumeyer, 2017)
Some facts of the Old McDonalds restaurant it is noted that they used to cook hot coffee beyond the normal temperature because most of the customers could take it until several minutes after purchase. Secondly, more than 700 cases have been reported over the severe burns from the hot coffee. Lastly, Due to huge profits ploughed per day most cases were settled outside the legal system that led to an insufficient change of bad behaviors. However, the Nebraska law does not represent the rule of law on some tort laws on health care.

Frivolous Lawsuits and Tort Reform

I think in this case Justice system promotes frivolous lawsuits though they lack the legal merits. This belief is based on the Hot coffee case presented on Liebeck v McDonald's restaurant. Though the fact seemed of unreasonable action since it is the lady who poured on herself due to the mistakes she made. The court listens to her situation and later on Liebeck is legally compensated for the damages that the Hot coffee did to her. The medical bills were huge, and the coffee’s temperature after the investigation was to way hot to the standard coffee temperatures policies.
Though the tort lawsuits are ineffective at some point, it leads to bad behaviors as such the McDonalds restaurant; who over a decade been settling cases out of court. The compensation provided however made it a pillar case ever that has reformed the tort laws being the case was termed frivolity. Therefore, I agree that the justice system has promoted the frivolous lawsuits to provide justice.
In filing a case that is to be termed frivolous the plaintiff or the injured patient should put the various issue in place. A case has been termed as frivolous maybe of disgust to the attorney and the court system if the jury precedes to nullify it. Apart from that, the plaintiff should first see if there is a case to file by getting an attorney who specializes in the lawsuit. However, to submit such a claim that may be deemed frivolous one should consider the following. Cost/benefit one is supposed to analyze the cost and benefit of the lawsuit through weighing the risks versus the reward in your decision-making process. Secondly, taking an objective to look what are the chances. (Trembly,2016)
The question being can I win is it worth litigation. Thirdly, what are the alternatives to this lawsuit? One is not supposed to assume other methods of recovery such as negotiations and mediation. Fourthly, what’s the possibility of collecting your reward after winning? Collectability is to be put on the measure. Time is another factor to consider, how much time will you spend in the litigation. Willingness to involve a witness is another, a statue of limitation and lastly privacy. (Trembly,2016)
Some of the ethical considerations would be that the medical staff remains professional at all times. They should do whatever the law enforcement ask of them and make sure the legal proceedings are run smoothly. Secondly, ensure the patients are treated fairly at all time to make sure the patient rights are not violated. The key to ending frivolous lawsuits is to make sure that the patient is given best care and rules and regulations are followed. In the US, the tort reform malpractice has come s a remedy to reducing medical costs. (Chandra et al., 2009). Some of these lawsuits in the medical field cause the taxpayers to pay for insurance and health care visits.


Kat Kadlan- Baumeyer. (2017). What is Tort Law? - Definition and Examples.
Brett Trembly. (2016). Eight factors to consider before filing a lawsuit: Frivolous lawsuits. Trembly law firm. The business firm for business people.
Chandra, A., Durand, R., & Dickens, K. (2009). Healthcare consumers’ beliefs about medical malpractice lawsuits. Hospital Topics, 87(2), 25-31
Institute for Legal Reform. (2012). Episode 1: Is hot coffee the whole truth? Or nothing but? (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video file]. Retrieved from
Institute for Legal Reform. (2012). Episode 2: A defining moment: What is tort? (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video file]. Retrieved from
Institute for Legal Reform. (2012). Episode 3: Old McDonald’s: The facts (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video file]. Retrieved from

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