Monday, December 31, 2018

Welcome to the blog 2019!

This past year, I posted every Monday about each of the 50 US states, plus DC and US territories, including interesting information and trivia.  I hope you enjoyed reading!

In 2019, I will post every Monday about a “frivolous” lawsuit which either began or ended in 2018.

What is a frivolous lawsuit?  A frivolous lawsuit is any lawsuit that is filed with the intention of harassing, annoying, or disturbing the opposing party, or in which the plaintiff knows there is little or no chance of the lawsuit actually succeeding if pursued in court.

Although most people will agree that certain lawsuits are frivolous, some of these lawsuits resulted in the plaintiffs obtaining money.  And sometimes, a lawsuit which appears frivolous actually isn't.

As an example of an older “frivolous” lawsuit, most of us remember when a 79yo lady sued McDonald's because of burns she sustained when she bought a cup of hot coffee from the drive-thru and it spilled in her lap, (1) causing third degree burns which required extensive surgery and skin grafts, and almost killed her, or (2) people need to realize that hot coffee is just that – hot – and should expect to be burned if they spill it on themselves, duh.

In 1994 [can you believe this is 25 years ago?!], a New Mexico jury determined that plaintiff was 20% responsible for her own injuries and McDonald's was 80% responsible, and awarded the lady almost $3 million.  The court reduced that amount to $640,000.  Thereafter, the parties reached a confidential settlement to avoid the further legal expense of a McDonald's appeal.

Click here for plaintiff's side of the case, which actually looks very compelling, including that McDonald's intentionally sold the coffee at 180-190 degrees which is capable of causing third degree burns in three seconds [boiling point is 212 degrees, home-brewed coffee is generally 140 degrees, reducing the temperature to 155 degrees would have avoided severe burns entirely], and McDonald's had received over 700 previous consumer complaints about coffee burning them and had done nothing.  Plaintiff had initially just wanted $20,000 to cover her medical expenses.  McDonald's offered $800.

Here's to a safe and happy 2019!

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