The true story about the woman who sued McDonald's over hot coffee

The story of a woman who spilled coffee on her lap and ended up being awarded $2.9 million in a lawsuit against McDonald's is often cited as THE example of frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries. The real story, though, is different from the version you've probably heard. For one thing, the woman suffered burns to 16% of her body, some of which were 3rd degree. For another, at the time, McDonald's served their coffee at a temperature 30 degrees hotter than the stuff that comes out of home coffeemakers. Also the $2.9 million was only the jury-recommended award, based on just two days worth of McDonald's coffee sales. This New York Times video is an interesting look at the nuance that gets lost when media, pop culture, and politicians twist an event to better serve their own narratives and ends.

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