In theLiebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants case, the plaintiff claimed thatthe defendant acted negligently by selling extremely hot coffee andthis culminated in her acquiring third-degree injuries. The juryawarded Liebeck $640,000 to cater for her medical expenses and thepunitive damages as well(American Museum of Tort Law, 2015). Inmy opinion, the defendant did not act negligently. In fact, thispaper asserts that Liebeck v. MacDonald’s Restaurants case is anexample of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.
First, it isevident that the plaintiff failed to do what a reasonable personwould do in her situation. On this note, “Contributory negligenceinvolves the inadvertent failure to notice danger” (Fleming, 1953,698). For instance, the plaintiff could have searched for the rightplace to keep the coffee as she adds sugar and cream. Instead, sheplaced the cup between her knees. As such, the plaintiff could nothave proved beyond any reasonable doubt that she exercised the properand due care on her part.
Liebeck alsoaccused of selling a dangerous product pointing to theextremely hot coffee that could not have been consumed instantly asthis would result in one acquiring burns on the lips and esophagus.However, Cain (2007) notes that a market research had indicated thatcustomers enjoyed their coffee steamy hot as this guaranteed optimaltaste. Besides, it is evident that customers, such as Liebeck, lovedto add cream and sugar, which would require high temperatures todissolve and achieve the desired taste. As such, by ensuring that itscoffee was extremely hot, was fulfilling its customers’desires and not acting negligently.
Inconclusion, in Liebeckv. McDonald`s Restaurants, the defendants did not act negligently infact, the plaintiff was culpable of contributory negligence.
AmericanMuseum of Tort Law. (2015). Liebeck v. McDonald’s. Accessed onhttps://www.tortmuseum.org/cases-that-made-a-difference/liebeck-vs-mcdonald
Cain, K. G.(2007). The McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit. Journalof Consumer & Commercial Law, 11(1).
James Jr, F.(1952). Contributory negligence. YaleLJ, 62,691.