DarthKermit: Hey what about that stupid person in the USA who spilled hot McDonalds coffee on her lap and won millions when she sued them for not having a warning stating that it was HOT? On second thought, maybe she wasn't stupid. Got millions for her silly act.
It gave her third degree burns over 6% of her body and lesser burns over another 16% and required 8 days of hospitalisation and another two years of ongoing treatment; at the time McDonald's were requiring their franchisees to serve coffee at 82-88C; even lowering the temperature to 71C would increase the time to cause a third degree burn from 2-7 seconds to well over 20 seconds.
She even attempted to settle for $20,000 at one stage, but McDonald's refused.
Applying the principles of comparative negligence, the jury found that McDonald's was 80% responsible for the incident and Liebeck was 20% at fault. Though there was a warning on the coffee cup, the jury decided that the warning was neither large enough nor sufficient. They awarded Liebeck US$200,000 in compensatory damages, which was then reduced by 20% to $160,000. In addition, they awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages. The jurors apparently arrived at this figure from Morgan's suggestion to penalize McDonald's for one or two days' worth of coffee revenues, which were about $1.35 million per day. The judge reduced punitive damages to $480,000, three times the compensatory amount, for a total of $640,000. The decision was appealed by both McDonald's and Liebeck in December 1994, but the parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount less than $600,000.
It wasn't a silly act, nor was it a frivolous lawsuit.