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“McDonald’s Coffee” Product Liability Case (Research Paper Sample)


1.Try to use simple language and vocabulary as far as possible
2.Use the three cases I gave


Student’s Name

Professor’s Name

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Three Case Studies

Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer (Sanders 253). Responsibility for a product defect that causes injury lies with all sellers of the product who are in the distribution chain. Generally, consumers need to be protected from severe exposure to the products they use daily. This products if not checked expose them to grave dangers beyond imagination. This is a work that they cannot do in themselves (Sanders 265). It thus calls for a higher authority, the government, to look into this issue. Through various enactments within the legislation, the government has put in measures to ensure their citizens are safe in the use of whatever product they purchase. It is common knowledge that products available at the disposal of consumers could be harboring a host of harm had it been that the legislation was not in place. In general terms, the law requires that a product meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. When a product has an unexpected defect or danger, the product cannot be said to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer (Scharf 22).

Undoubtedly, product liability is a far-reaching piece of legislation that affects different sectors of the economy including real estate, e-commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, banking and finance, aviation, among many others. The legislation comes with a host of benefits ranging from giving advice consumers on their rights and responsibilities, investigation of complaints and establishing of conflict resolution mechanisms amongst others. A breach of this regulation will make a person liable to a fine of a given amount or imprisonment for a given term or both such fine and imprisonment. Therefore, this paper explores three case studies on product liability case.
First case, the famous “McDonald’s coffee” product liability case

The case is about a 79-year-old woman, Stella Liebeck, who was burned after the coffee she purchased at McDonald’s caused her to suffer severe and excruciatingly painful third-degree burns to her groin, thighs, and buttocks. The condition necessitated multiple surgical skin grafts which made her stay in the hospital for seven days. This translated to medical bills of about $200,000.

In this case, negligence on the part of McDonald's Corporation resulted in severe burns to the complainant Stella Liebeck amongst many other customers. Even after complaints of the degree of hotness from of host of customers, the McDonald's never bothered to act fast to reduce incidences of burns from their coffee. During the case, McDonald's own quality assurance manager was forced to admit that the Corporation was aware of the risk of serving dangerously hot coffee, but stated the corporation still was not going to do anything about it. Such a submission by a high profile officer in the corporation in the presence of the jury was the most reckless ever heard.
Based on the evidence that was given in the case, including that of McDonald's own quality assurance manager, rendered the corporation culpable of having acted in contravention of the law. The jury in accordance with the law found McDonald's corporation liable because the jury believed McDonald's had engaged in the willful, reckless and malicious conduct. For their proven negligence they were heavily fined a sum equal to 2.7 million dollars which was finally reduced to $480,000 after McDonald's made an appeal.

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