[Homeroast] OT - Hot Coffee

Phil Palmintere phil.palmintere at gmail.com
Sat Feb 5 10:57:25 CST 2011

Off Topic, even though this is about Hot Coffee.

Most everyone remembers the elderly woman who spilled
her McDonald's drive-through coffee in her lap & sued, becoming late night
talk show joke fodder ...well, at Sundance Film Festival last week, a
documentary titled "Hot Coffee" was premiered and I actually met & talked to
the woman's children (the woman has since passed) & the director.

It is a one-sided documentary crafted by a director who made her
fortune suing businesses, and she did 15 mins of Q&A after the screening.

At the time, McDonald's required its restaurants to serve coffee at 185
degrees F, +/- 5 degrees.

At 180 degrees F, a liquid will cause 3rd degree burns requiring surgical
repair within 7 seconds (the full cup of coffee dumped into her lap, was
soaked up by sweatpants she was wearing, causing 3rd degree burns over 6% of
her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and
groin areas. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she
underwent skin grafting.)  The still photos shown were gruesome.

Medicare covered 80% (or was it 90%?) of her medical bills, and she asked
(and ultimately sued) McDonald's for the balance.  The children told me she
wasn't seeking anything other than covering the balance of the bill.  The
director of the documentary both during the film and during Q&A, asserted
among other things that there is no such thing as a frivolous law suit, all
businesses are evil, Haliburton is more evil than all others, and the blame
for most problems of the world lie at the feet of the 41st and 43rd
presidents of the USA. Hey, it's her movie, so she can make whatever
editorial message she wants.

The end result, besides the jury award, is that McDonald's reduced the
temperature of their coffee.  Most restaurants serve their coffee at about
145, it was asserted in trial, and that McDonalds served theirs hotter at
the drive-through because their customers took it to work or home to consume

So... at what temperature do you typically drink your coffee?

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