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The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case

Hot Coffee The Movie

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Second Judicial District Court, State of New Mexico, County of Bernalillo Cause No. CV-93-02419, Stella Liebeck, Plaintiff, vs. McDonald’s Restaurants, P.T.S., INC., and McDonald’s Corporation, Defendants, is widely known as the “McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case.” Our own Kenneth R. Wagner was one of the plaintiff’s attorneys who tried and won this lawsuit in 1994.

Wake Forest University held a conference in February of 2004 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, wherein John Llewellyn, Associate Professor of Communication, announced that the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case has become the most famous lawsuit in the world and the most misunderstood lawsuit in the world.

“The New York Times” on Thursday, April, 20, 1995, ran an ad by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Ralph Nader and Harvey Rosenfeld, entitled “The Truth about the McDonald’s Coffee Case” in which the following facts were listed:

  • The coffee was forty degrees hotter than most other restaurants keep it - close to boiling.
  • A national burn center had issued a public warning not to serve hot beverages over 135 degrees.
  • The woman, 79 years old, required eight days in the hospital and skin grafts for third-degree burns on her groin and genitals.
  • There were 700 other burn claims against McDonald’s before this injury, yet no action was taken.
  • The victim offered to settle for $20,000.00. McDonald’s refused.
  • At trial, the jury awarded her $200,000.00 in compensation, reduced to $160,000.00 because she was deemed 20% responsible for her injury.
  • The jury also awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages – worth two days of McDonald’s coffee sales. The court reduced this to $480,000.00 or three times the amount of compensatory damages.

Ken Wagner has not lost his zeal for helping innocent victims. He is a practicing personal injury lawyer here in Albuquerque with Ken Wagner Law.

McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit

Learn the truth about the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit. Our personal injury lawyer Ken Wagner helped win this lawsuit in 1994.

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Retro Report on PBS

Wake Forest University Professor John Llewellyn calls Liebeck’s lawsuit the most misunderstood story in America.

Watch Video »

Free Case Evaluation

The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case

Hot Coffee The Movie

New news about Hot Coffee

“The New York Times” on Thursday, April, 20, 1995, ran an ad by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Ralph Nader and Harvey Rosenfeld, entitled “The Truth about the McDonald’s Coffee Case” in which the following facts were listed:

  • The coffee was forty degrees hotter than most other restaurants keep it - close to boiling.
  • A national burn center had issued a public warning not to serve hot beverages over 135 degrees.
  • The woman, 79 years old, required eight days in the hospital and skin grafts for third-degree burns on her groin and genitals.
  • There were 700 other burn claims against McDonald’s before this injury, yet no action was taken.
  • The victim offered to settle for $20,000.00. McDonald’s refused.
  • At trial, the jury awarded her $200,000.00 in compensation, reduced to $160,000.00 because she was deemed 20% responsible for her injury.
  • The jury also awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages – worth two days of McDonald’s coffee sales. The court reduced this to $480,000.00 or three times the amount of compensatory damages.

Ken Wagner has not lost his zeal for helping innocent victims. He is a practicing personal injury lawyer here in Albuquerque with Ken Wagner Law.

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Retro Report on PBS

Ken's team won the landmark "Hot Coffee Case". The most misunderstood lawsuit in American history.

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