The mysterious case of the clown’s not so funny hot coffee capper Or… they… really are… we, aren’t they
The mysterious case of the clown’s not so funny hot coffee capper
Or… they are really we.
Many people are cataleptic with regard to the truth about the McDonald’s Hot Coffee law suit… here are some facts as well as some of my own memories and analogical reasoning surrounding this incident. For instance, I knew that Ms Liebeck was not driving and that the vehicle was not moving when the cups contents were spilled on her. I also knew that either this particular restaurant or a different McDonald’s restaurant had been cited or warned or sued about the excessively high temperatures of their coffee before this event. In addition, I was a cognizant of the fact that she was badly injured i.e. burned/scalded and had required medical attention. Finally, I knew that she had or was going to sue McDonald’s for her medical expenses.
The reason I came to know these things escapes me now, but I think I looked it up because it seemed so preposterous at the time I first heard about it. February 1992 is a little over two decades past, but I can remember there was a lot of talk about “frivolous” law suits and how much these were costing consumers due to increases in things such as malpractice insurance and higher premiums for businesses policies as such that were then of course being passed on to the customers. Their seemed to be a real zeitgeist about such things at that time, and many people were looking for scapegoats to blame and donkeys to pin the tail on. As opposed to really checking the facts or perhaps taking a peek behind the curtain.
As I remember it, consumers, [greedy consumers] were really to blame, not the hapless businesses or corporations many of whose products were… in truth… defective, misrepresented, malfunctioning and or injurious and even deadly. They (the hapless businesses and corporations) it seemed were the “actual victims” according to most… Americans can be such maroons, all they have to do is identify some villain and like lemmings, it’s over the cliff we go.
Who are they you might ask… well they is anybody spewing a trope or monadology convenient to ones pre-established cognitive bias… i.e. any crap that seems to agree with your world view. Thus, ironically… they are we.
I did not know the real extent of her injuries nor learned the outcome of her lawsuit until now. I can remember thinking that one- it seemed unfortunate and avoidable, both on the part of McDonald’s and on the part of Ms Liebeck. And two- that it must have really hurt… as in been very painful.
As I previously mentioned I knew Ms Liebeck had required medical treatment but was unaware as to the extent of this. According to the author, Kevin G. Cain senior, counsel at the law firm of Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, L.L.P., “A vascular surgeon diagnosed Liebeck as having suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. These third degree burns extended through to Liebeck’s subcutaneous fat, muscle, or bone. While she was hospitalized for eight days, Liebeck underwent skin grafting, and later underwent debridement treatments. Liebeck was permanently disfigured and disabled for two years as a result of this incident” (Cain). So that’s what 190 degree does to human tissue… how lovely.
The article states that Ms. Liebeck originally asked McDonald’s to pay only her medical expenses, of approximately $11,000 but that they had refused, offering her $800.00 instead, following which Ms. Liebeck hired “a Houston attorney named Reed Morgan who had filed a similar hot-coffee lawsuit against McDonald’s in 1986”. In the previous, case Mr. Morgan represented a woman who had also received third-degree burns from McDonald’s coffee, and had in that case deposed a McDonald’s quality assurance executive who stated he knew of the danger but did not intend to lower the temperature of McDonald’s coffee. In addition, prior to going to court Mr. Morgan offered to settle for $90,000, and again McDonald’s refused , (p. 15).
Which really makes one wonder… who’s the bad actor here, the person who supposedly (according to the mendacious and mocking “water cooler” gossip common at the time) tried to put sugar in her coffee while driving or the supercilious self aggrandizing management at McDonald’s?
As it turns out it is the later… as well as the feral corporate culture in America that spawns such contemptible vermin. If I sound a little antagonistic well that is because I am. I see no reason to respect or pay homage to a bunch of “thugs” who get away with crimes simply because they are dressed in three-piece suits and accomplish their iniquitous deeds from the safety of their boardrooms by way of their minions on K-street and the briberies of our policy makers along with the resultant malfeasance that ensues. These actors are only slightly more contemptible than certain large sections of the American public, who seem to revel in their blind obedience to this dogma or that… but I digress.
Now as it turns out McDonald’s, had 700 previous claims against it for “defective” coffee, i.e. it was too damn hot, and they, McDonald’s, had paid out over $500,000 to settle these claims. Not only this but also, that many of these claims resulted from serious injuries to [their] customers. They had in other words a history of acting with conscious indifference to their customers, and for that the jury said they must pay.
Why so hot one might ask… well because, other so-called experts told us to… so there.
700 persons/customers burned by their coffee… over half a million paid out in damages… and still the lights do not come on. Masters of the universe… I don’t think so.
“McDonald’s continued to demonstrate this same corporate indifference. McDonald’s human factors engineer, Dr. P. Robert Knaff, testified that the number of hot coffee burns that occur are “statistically insignificant” when compared to the billion cups of coffee McDonald’s sells annually” (p. 16). “Statistically” insignificant… really… what about the people as in human beings? Was that Dr Knaff or Mengele I get confused? Both show the same basic disregard for human suffering and dignity the only difference is in the application.
“Do you have in mind a number of how many people would have to be burned for you to become so concerned that you would insist that burn specialists be consulted and something be done to sell this coffee at a lower temperature? A: No, I don’t have a number in mind” (p. 16). Human factors engineer…Priceless.
Judge Scott, “This is all evidence of culpable corporate mental state and I conclude that the award of punitive damages is and was appropriate to punish and deter the Defendant for their wanton conduct and to send a clear message to this Defendant that corrective measures are appropriate” (p. 17).
Frivolous lawsuit… unsympathetic corporate defendant… these are the main ingredients in “how stupid can we be while they laugh all the way to the bank” soup. Pretty damn stupid it seems. “Lawyer-bashing” as a pass time has its roots in some stark truths about our civil as well as our criminal justice system. Neither of which really lives up to either their promise or potential. Both of which at times more frequently than not act instrumentally against the interests of the very entities they were instantiated to serve.
Tort reform, as the name so inauspiciously implies refers to changes in civil law that would limit or reduce tort litigation or damages. The idea is to cap damage awards as well as curtail the kinds and numbers of suits brought against our upstanding corporate brethren, think Ford Pinto and you get the picture. The problem there was not that the Pinto was actually any less safe than other cars in its class, it was. The problem was and is that a pervasive corporate culture exists in the country that not only allows but also encourages the use of such things as cost–benefit analysis in situations concerning human life and dignity.
For instance, which will cost more… making it right and safe… or paying off statistically insignificant claims based on the actuarialized downsized valuations of the worth of human suffering and life. Never mind the obvious fact that happy, uninjured persons are statistically unlikely to sue in the first place.
As corporations see it, a better idea than actually meeting their lawfully purchased contractual obligations of merchantability and fitness of purpose is to forestall, confound, and discourage as many injured parties as possible from seeking or receiving a just compensation for the harm they have caused them.
Still better yet they say… we will do this thru the same legal system and with the same officers of the court that are supposed to protect and repair those injured thru our breaches of duty.
In terms of justice, due process, and the rule of law… the truth is, despite protestations to the contrary, that this country … is really governed by the “golden” rule… those with the gold… make the rules. Anyone who says different is either a shill for the system or blind as the proverbial bat.
In the real world it is, entelechy- “potentia et effectu“, no matter the merits of your claim, unless you have lots of money… or someone stands to get lots of money by assisting your cause you will rarely see justice done in the courts because the masters of their masters pay better than their moral compunctions.
“Therefore this is the best of all possible worlds”, (Leibniz, p.90). Or is it?
Cain, K. G. (n.d.). The mcdonald’s coffee lawsuit. Journal of Consumer & Commercial Law, 14-19.
Leibniz, G. The Monadology (La Monadologie, 1714).
- A McDonald’s Love Story (josephmkurtenbach.com)
- Smart Lid silently screams, ‘Hot coffee!’ (news.cnet.com)
- Birmingham events screen ‘Hot Coffee’ documentary, which takes critical look at tort reform efforts (al.com)
MFWIC… he’s not!
He also recommends decapitating Democrats: “We need to ride onto that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.” Again implying threat of death(s)… but more generally this time… a propos mass murder.
He says he is a patriot… and that he loves his country and democracy… then he extols the use of lethal force against those who disagree with him…
Such is the subjective worldview of all fundamentalists… including it would seem many of Teddy’s fans who also seem to revel in his instrumental fantasies of death and dominion.
This means however, that he is neither a patriot nor a champion of democracy… but rather he is a fascist who believes his dogma has more value than [human lives] at least as any reasonable person would define human lives.
On the contrary, in his case the definition of human lives as well as the values attached to them … appear distinguished and demarcated from that of reasonable persons. Apparently, via some inexplicable machinations intrinsic to the 3-pound chemistry set ostensibly located somewhere between his ears… formally known as his brain… such that he classifies human lives as being limited to… only those who agree with him.
Keeping in mind … [and… we would do well to keep this in mind]… that in order to have his way he would… one gets the impression… gleefully employ methods used by the [Nazis] to inflict his moral totalitarianism on others.
As such, it really is astonishing that his skull does not simply explode from the nearly galactic magnitude of forces such a cognitive dissonance necessitates due to the pressingly divergent natures and propositions concomitant in his ideas… over and above the spatial requirements they would entail.
I wonder how he likes his irony… rare, medium, or well done.
P.S. … The reality is that there is almost certainly nothing to fear from the likes of Ted. Like all big talkers… he is appositely all bark… no bite… just another frightened xenophobe fretfully calling others names from inside the walls of his dearth of intellectual capacity… an imperceptible prison from which he has little hope of escape due to his highly inflated supercilious sense of self.
- Ted Nugent: Gross Baboon of the Week (imeanwhat.com)
- Ted Nugent under the Secret Service’s eye. (emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com)
- Secret Service Says They Are Investigating Ted Nugent’s Remarks Towards Obama (mediaite.com)
- Ted Nugent Gets Noticed by the Secret Service (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- The Secret Service Says They Are Investigating Ted Nugent’s Threatening Remarks Toward Obama (thinkprogress.org)
- DNC chair calls on Romney to condemn Ted Nugent (rawstory.com)
- Will Mitt Romney distance himself from Ted Nugent’s violence-laced NRA diatribe? Riiiiiiight. (dailykos.com)
- Mitt Romney Sought Ted Nugent Endorsement…So Does Romney Endorse Nugent’s Views? (alan.com)
- Ted Nugent Is Under Investigation From the Secret Service (metalsucks.net)
- Ted Nugent speaks and I ask what is he waiting for? (maureenholland.wordpress.com)
- Secret Service Investigates Ted Nugent Threat Against Obama at NRA Convention: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
- Ted Nugent Under Investigation Following Comments on Barack Obama (loudwire.com)
- Ted Nugent Under Fire for Obama Threats (rollingstone.com)
- Ted Nugent: Threat to Obama, or harmless loudmouth? (csmonitor.com)
- Secret Service To Investigate Ted Nugent’s Obama Remarks (alan.com)
And here… we… go… again
Banks make a financial statement… I wonder… just how much FREE SPEECH they can buy.
What is more, the industry is remembering its friends on Capitol Hill — [shelling out cash to lawmakers] who have consistently voted their way. The commercial banking industry donated $21.7 million in 2010. Now they’re racking em up again…
That kind of money buys a lot of influence from… the people who say money doesn’t influence them…
Several veteran financial services lobbyists held a fundraiser in January for Richard Mourdock, the TEA PARTY FAVORITE. The event was hosted by Talbott of the Financial Services Roundtable, Lisa Nelson of Visa, Peter Blocklin of the American Bankers Association and Vincent Randazzo of PNC.
The banking industry has always been a major player in political spending, but its increasingly aggressive tactics are a sign that some in the industry want to pack more of a punch on Capitol Hill, particularly with the sweeping overhaul to the financial system still under way and with big legislative reforms on the horizon.
Good thing they’re patriots… you know… looking out for the best interests of the country and all that.
- Banks make a financial statement (politico.com)
- Banks boost Dick Lugar rival (politico.com)
- Auction 2012: How The Bank Lobby Owns Washington (huffingtonpost.com)
- Head of British Bankers’ Association to Step Down (dealbook.nytimes.com)
- The Best Congress the Banks’ Money Can Buy (the2012scenario.com)
- One More Reason to Hate Your Bank (thedailybeast.com)
Are-you-smarter-than-a-Fox-News-viewer… most fox viewers aren’t… but they think they are… which is why they aren’t… leading to why they think they are in the first place… not smarter than they think they are.
don’t believe it… take the quiz smarty and find out if you are… smarter than they think you think they are… at Fake News… I mean Fox.
- Fox News Finds Mole in Company (abcnews.go.com)
- Fox News: We know who the Gawker mole is, we swear! (shortformblog.com)
- Please Hire The Fox News Mole From Gawker (tjwalker.com)
- Fox News Finds Mole in Company (abcnews.go.com)
- Fox News: We know who the Gawker mole is, we swear! (shortformblog.com)
- Please Hire The Fox News Mole From Gawker (tjwalker.com)
- Top News Anchors of All Time (juliegflores.wordpress.com)
- Is bias-free news coverage coming back into vogue? (csmonitor.com)
- Was Fox News Pulling For Romney? (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
- Trump warns Fox News viewers: Autism caused by vaccines (usapartisan.com)
- Fox News Lawyers’ Letter To Gawker Mole: Your Admissions Are Likely Of ‘Criminal And Civil Wrongdoing’ (mediaite.com)
Habeas corpus the great writ protects citizens from unlawful detainment but not from wrongful conviction. The best estimates put this at 1 to 3 %. If only 0.5% of the 1,993,880 convictions in 1990 for index crimes were wrongful, that would put the number of innocents in jail or prison at 9,969, more than the average population of most US cities, est – 6,545 people. [http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/ronhuff.htm]
If you factor in the effects of plea bargaining the number is likely even higher. On the one hand, people seem to celebrate the principles of law and justice for all, [including the courts] on the other some of these same people then say and do things to undermine these principles’ in the name of the mundane and thus act in opposition to “the great”.
For instance giving [weight to the needs of convenience and practical problems of law enforcement] the key word here being [law], as in law and justice. What parts of the law, justice, or due process should give means to “practical” anything’s when the lives and liberties of individuals are at stake. Moreover, how can people extolling principles of justice and equality under the law… [that is, if boasting any actual knowledge of The Constitution] keep a straight face when doing these things.
Or is it they are really just sheep in people’s clothing… if the courts, the politicians, the police, as well as the media say it’s ok… well then it must be ok.
In addition, what exactly does “law-enforcement” mean? Is it the mission of law enforcement to prevent crime, or only to apprehend lawbreakers after crimes have [allegedly] been committed? Who defines what are – [criminal acts], and what limits their ability to do so? The politicians delineate the statute that is the definitions; the courts uphold them… but similar to the police… only at their discretion… they can [pick and choose] what they will attend to and when.
Furthermore, regarding the police, what should be and are the limits and scope of their powers to compel an individual in civil society … that is to say their [lawful] exclusive right to the use of force in situations where their autonomous [extra-legal] sense is that some crime or activity is or has occurred such that it now deserves their attention? Upon what seemingly moral superiority are they deciding and acting in such circumstances?
Likewise, in the case of appellate review the stipulation is that of reducing error and defect in legal decisions. Thus, those taking decisions and actions limiting appellate review would seem to contradict this very same idea.
Perhaps the thought here is … only to reduce legal error and defect some of time… but only when it’s convenient for the purposes of the courts and the agents of [law] enforcement…[this must be what the Founders had in mind when they and the other like-minded colonists risked everything in defying King George… convenient and practical, not absolute or self-evident]. If some wish to reduce the burden of the courts ought they to do this at the cost of the civil rights of this nations citizens’… indigent or not.
Maybe reducing the numbers and kinds of laws or criminal definitions as well as the allowable levels of incursion by the state and its agents into the everyday doings of civil society might accomplish these same ends without eroding the civil rights upon which this country was founded to provide and protect.
Here is a nice example just to illustrate… U.S. Supreme Court rules: Traffic offenders can be strip-searched, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that officials can strip-search people arrested for any offense — including traffic violations… briefs with the court show that… people have been detained and made to bare all after infractions such as driving with a noisy muffler and failing to use a turn signal.
So, [law enforcement] can… at their discretion… regardless the circumstances or legality of the arrest and before any due process… force a person to strip on the side of the road to search them… talk about unreasonable search and seizure… The Fourth Amendment … what’s that… priceless.
- Strip Searches (aphilosopher.wordpress.com)
- America 2012: The Supreme Court Has Made It Legal For The Police To Strip Search You Any Time They Want (blacklistednews.com)
- America 2012: The Supreme Court Has Made It Legal For The Police To Strip Search You Any Time They Want (activistpost.com)
- ACLU Of Virginia Seeks Strip-Search Policies After Supreme Court Decision (washington.cbslocal.com)
- writ of mandamus directing the respondent Corporation not to acquire the land of the petitioner-temple for the purpose of road widening, without issuing notice to it and without following due procedure as laid down under Sections 146 and 147 of the Greate (advocatemmmohan.wordpress.com)
- Under the U.S. Supreme Court: Getting naked down at the jail (upi.com)
- N.J. Law Now Stricter Than U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Strip Searches | NJ.com | Jason Grant/The Star-Ledger | 4/4/12 (vinhsulaw.wordpress.com)
- U.S. Supreme Court rules detainees can be strip-searched without cause (nj.com)
- U.S. Supreme Court Has Ruled That Defendants Have A Constitutional Right To Effective Assistance Of Counsel In Plea Bargains (montanacorruption.org)
- US Supreme Court won’t lift Okla. execution stay (heraldonline.com)
- Patents On Nature (amasianv.wordpress.com)