But this case is not the Stella Liebeck case. They both involve coffee, but that's the only similarity. Alice Griffin is not suing Starbucks because their coffee was "too hot." She's suing Starbucks because an employee allegedly dropped a cup of coffee on her foot, causing damage. Assuming no one's lying about how the accident happened, I don't have a problem with that theory of the case: that's just basic principles of negligence and respondeat superior. My objection to the McDonald's coffee case is that McDonald's didn't cause Stella Liebeck to injure herself any more than the manufacturer of Liebeck's sweatpants did, but the plaintiffs sought to hold McDonald's liable anyway. If a McDonald's employee had been the one who spilled Liebeck's coffee, McDonald's should be liable for Liebeck's injuries. But the temperature of the coffee is irrelevant to that inquiry.
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McDonalds Coffee Case Facts | Texas Trial Lawyers Association