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ORIGINAL QUESTION: The McDonald’s® coffee case is one of the most famous civil cases in American law. Almost everyone has heard of it, and most people have an opinion about it. It is often used as a justification for tort reform. Prepare for the debate by reading the article “The Actual Facts about the McDonald’s Coffee Case” retrieved from http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm. In addition, perform some research on tort reform. The ‘Lectric Law Library. (1996). The actual facts about the McDonald’s coffee case. Retrieved from http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm Topic: McDonald’s Coffee Case Debate NO VIOLATION: Students whose last names begin with the letters A through K will argue that McDonald’s did not violate its obligation of care to the consumer by serving coffee at 185 degrees, and tort reform is necessary to prevent these types of civil judgments. These students should clearly indicate their position on the debate by beginning each Discussion post with the heading “NO VIOLATION.” VIOLATION: Students whose last names begin with the letters L through Z will argue that McDonald’s did violate its obligation of care to the consumer by serving coffee at 185 degrees, and tort reform would prevent worthy plaintiffs from recovering the full amount of damages to which they are entitled. These students should clearly indicate their position on the debate by beginning each Discussion post with the heading “VIOLATION.” Each student must contribute at least one original idea and/or example representing his or her side of the debate, and each student must respond to at least one student’s argument from the opposing side. Each student must respond to the ongoing Discussion that will be moderated by the instructor for the duration of the debate. STUDENT 1 RESPONSE Yes, so the critical duty of care here was to serve coffee at a reasonable temperature, which they exceeded. What was the stated reason for keeping the coffee this hot? What were the argument that it should be held at a lower temperature? Yes, there did seem to be some misinformation in the public. I don’t know where these stories originated, but initially it was claimed that she was driving and she was trying to put creamer coffee while the car was in motion. Also it is interesting to note that she was not alone in her complaint. There had many other people who had also complained to McDonald’s, but none of this has any impact on them. STUDENT 2 RESPONSE (NOTE: YOU ARE ON THE VIOLATION SIDE SO YOU SUPPOSE TO DEBATE THIS WITH STUDENT TO WHO CLAIMS IT WAS NOT A VIOLATION) Professor and Classmates, No VIOLATION I don’t think McDonald’s violated their obligation of care when serving their coffee. Common sense says that coffee is served hot. Why should McDonald’s be held accountable for someone not paying attention to their beverage? If McDonald’s is keeping within the industry standard of coffee temperature wise, then they have already proven their obligation of care by maintaining the authorized temperature and not selling a product that falls below standards. Ms. Liebeck unfortunately did not take heed to the fact that the coffee would be hot. Was this her first time having coffee from McDonald’s? If not, was she negligent for knowingly putting the coffee between her legs? This should not fall on the part of McDonald’s because they maintained their temperature. It is not like they made their coffee especially hot just for her. Why didn’t the person directly before and after her not get burnt? If obligation of care to the consumer has to be written for all things common sense, then we should have warnings for ice cream being to cold, jaw breakers being to hard and everything in between. J. Cain, Kevin, 1994. THE McDONALD’S COFFEE LAWSUIT. Retrieved from: http://www.jtexconsumerlaw.com/V11N1/Coffee.pdf
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