McDonalds in Hot Water … Again

One of those so-called frivolous court cases people seem to recount often is the one in which McDonalds was sued by a woman who was scalded by coffee, purchased at McDonalds. The pop media made a joke of this, lampooning the woman as the archetypical “litigious American” who’ll sue anyone with deep pockets at the drop of a hat. In fact, it was an al-too-good example of just how proficient McDonalds PR department are at spin. The nearly 80-year-old suffered third degree burns (this is the kind where burn fully penetrates the skin) on her groin, buttocks, and thighs when the too-hot coffee spilled on her. She was hospitalised for over a week and required skin grafts and follow on treatment for the next two years. A jury awarded her over $2 million, but, in fact she received far less than this because McDonalds appealed the decision, tied her up in court for years, after which she finally settled for an undisclosed amount somewhere below $600,000. I’ll let you think about that for a moment whilst I set up for the next paragraph.

You see, McDonalds KNEW it’s coffee was too hot, but it’s management decided that they’d rather pay claims — over 700 of them, as it turns out — than lower the temperature of the coffee. They KNEW it, but because they have more money than decency, they chose to apply money, rather than decency, to the problem.

We have the same situation here in Tecoma, now. McDonalds KNEW it was not wanted up here. They claim the economics and zoning were favorable to building a store here. What they didn’t give any consideration to was that there is no DEMAND for one, here. I suppose they just reckon than if there’s no law against it, and it’s an area where disposable income per square kilometer is over some threshhold, they’ll put a store there, the community’s wishes be damned.

And now they’re suing us — specifically, eight of my neighbours and friends — essentially for putting up a huge resistance to their efforts to build here. They knew they weren’t wanted, and rather than do what a GOOD business does and simply look elsewhere to build, they bullied their way into our area, unwelcome, unwanted, and now unashamed of their rapacious tactics. They are claiming “injury” from not being able to build here. I say any such injury is SELF-INFLICTED. This is like the guy who jumps in front of an oncoming truck, gets run over, and then tries to sue the driver for the injuries he sustains.

There is no “law” that dictates limits on how hot coffee should or should not be. McDonalds could, in that case, claim that they did everything according to the law. And yet, through their negligence, as a result of their careless disregard for peoples’ well-being, they injured nearly 1000 people that we know of this way, at least one of them quite severely. They now find themselves in “hot water” with our community. WE didn’t put them there; they hopped in — no DOVE in — ignoring the very clear wishes of the community, and using legal thuggery to have its way in spite of our wishes.

They are feeling the “burn” and want to hold us liable for their injuries? Sorry, McDonalds. You got yourself into this soup, your own avarice drove you into a boiling hot caldron of your own making.

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