Bus Law Week 1

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Date Submitted: 09/19/2011 07:03 PM

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Liebeck vs. McDonalds

Team A


August 29, 2011

Prepared for

George Williams

The case of Stella Liebeck began in February of 1992, when she was sitting in the passenger seat of a car that her grandson was driving. After receiving the coffee she had purchased, her grandson began to drive off, yet stopped at her request so that she could add the cream and sugar to the coffee that was in a Styrofoam cup. Stella had the coffee cup between her legs and as she attempted to remove the lid, the coffee spilled in her lap. Many people thought that the car had been moving when the coffee had spilled, when in fact the car was at a stand still.

The coffee was estimated to have been between 180 and 190 degrees, and when it spilled it absorbed into her pants going straight to the skin. A vascular surgeon stated that the coffee affected many areas of her legs, genital areas, and buttocks with third degree burns. Stella had to be hospitalized for eight days and during that time had to undergo skin grafts and debriement treatments due to that the burns affected the areas all the way down to the bone.

Liebeck informed McDonalds of what had happened and requested that they pay her medical expenses of approximately $11,000 which Mcdonalds refused. At this point Liebeck retained the services of a Houston attorney by the name of Reed Morgan whom had previously pursued a case of the same situation in 1986 against McDonalds.


1. Cain, Kevin G. Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law (2007). And Now, The Rest of The Story….The McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit. Retrieved from http://www.jtexconsumerlaw.com/V11N1/Coffee.pdf. August 21, 2011.