Originally Posted by Tanna Banana
It's definitely a scary precedent. Reminds me of the McDonalds coffee lady back in the 90's (look what that started). Some people don't want to take any personal accountability for things.
Actually, I side with the coffee lady, Mrs. Liebeck, on that one. Of course people expect coffee to be hot, but would anyone reasonably expect it to cause third degree burns
requiring skin grafts?
At the time, McDonald's coffee was a good 20 degrees hotter than that of any other restaurant, and had already settled claims from other scalding injuries for more than $500,000. McDonald's was already aware of the issue but chose not to act upon it; their quality control manager testified that the number of injuries was insufficient to cause the company to evaluate its practices. McDonald's own executive testified that the company knew that the coffee sometimes caused serious burns, but hadn't consulted any experts on the matter. He also admitted that the company chose not to issue warnings that the coffee could cause severe burns, even though most people wouldn't think it was a possible. A Human Factors Engineer, testifying on behalf of McDonald's, basically said that burn injuries like Mrs. Liebeck's didn't matter to the company because they were statistically insignificant compared to the billions of cups of coffee they sold annually.
McDonald's knew their coffee was significantly hotter than other restaurants. They knew it was capable of causing severe burns and had even compensated some of their customers over it. And yet, they chose not to issue warnings because their customers potentially getting severe burn injuries didn't matter to the company as much as sales
For Mrs. Liebeck, she asked for her actual and anticipated medical bills to be compensated, which included covering skin grafts, spending 8 days in the hospital, and 2 years of medical treatments. McDonald's only offered her $800, and she sought legal action when they denied any liability for her burns. Had the coffee been 20 degrees lower (similar to other restaurants) it would have taken more contact time to cause the severe burns she received.
In court, McDonald's was found to be 80% responsible for serving coffee that was found to be of an unreasonable and unexpectedly high temperature without proper warning, and Mrs. Liebeck was found to be 20% responsible since she was the one that made the spill. Both parties ended up agreeing to a settlement significantly less than the reduced punitive damages issued.
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As for the Nutella claim, I'll agree that's ludicrous. I don't care how healthy any product claims to be, I always read the label to see the ingredients, sugar content, and fat content. I can't tell you how many "health" products have sugar for the first ingredient. But at the same time, companies really should be responsible for being honest with advertising. I doubt a class action lawsuit was really appropriate here, but it's good to know the company is changing their campaign.
And as for Axe? Well . . . here's a fun read