How A Lawsuit Over Hot Coffee Helped Erode the 7th Amendment

I am *REALLY* glad to see people debunking the urban legends that have circulated about this lawsuit. THANKS for getting it right….

Needull in a haystack

hot_coffee

Another insightful article by Priceonomics on supposedly frivolous law suits in the US.

In 1992, an elderly woman in New Mexico bought coffee at a McDonald’s drive through, spilled it on herself, and successfully sued for nearly $3 million.

This story is the poster child for the absurdity of the American legal system. Nearly every late night comic has a bit about suing over hot coffee. In a Seinfeld episode, Kramer burns himself while hiding coffee in his pants as he enters a movie theater. “You’re gonna walk out of [the courtroom] a rich man,” his lawyer tells him confidently as they prepare to sue the coffee shop.

The anecdote is also popular with politicians. “We’re a litigious society,” George Bush told supporters while advocating for legislation to curtail frivolous lawsuits. “But there have to be limits.”

There’s just one problem: the story is incredibly distorted. The elderly New Mexico…

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