The First Big McDonald’s Personal Injury Lawsuit: Nothing Cheesy

McDonalds Cheeseburger personal injury lawsuit

The Florida Cheeseburger lawsuit has stirred up talk again about a frivolous lawsuit, with most people dismissing the action as a stunt. Two McDonald’s customers in Florida are suing the fast food behemoth for not discounting the price of a cheeseburger without cheese.

The lawsuit, filed in Fort Lauderdale, asserts that “A customer who wanted a Quarter Pounder was required to order and pay for a Quarter Pounder with cheese, which was given to the customer without cheese.” The suit claims that McDonald’s is engaging in “deceptive and misleading” practices. The reasoning is that Micky D’s “receives payment for cheese it does not deliver to its customers.” McDonald’s is taking the suit seriously since the plaintiffs would like to make it a class action lawsuit. That could run into money when you’re talking about billions of slices of cheese.


Different from a Famous McDonald’s Personal Injury Lawsuit

The legal action is reminiscent of the well-known McDonald’s hot coffee case. In 1992, headlines told of a nearly $3 million settlement for a woman claiming she had been injured when hot coffee spilled on her lap. The case was all over the morning news shows and dominated talk radio. Most of the coverage reflected ridicule over anyone winning so much money for such a seemingly trivial accident. Big business “tort reformers” turned the case into a call to action to stop “frivolous” lawsuits. And that’s how most people perceived the case.

But the truth was that this was a perfectly legitimate personal injury lawsuit. And the plaintiff in the end settled for $500,000. That may still seem like a lot of money for spilled coffee, but not once you get past the headlines. It turns out that the woman who sued, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck, had a good case. When she took the lid off of her container, it spilled into her lap. She got out of the car screaming and wound up in the emergency room. Stella had suffered severe burns over 16% of her body. She was in the hospital for a week.

According to a New York Times documentary (below): “McDonald’s policy was to serve coffee between 180 and 190 degrees – that’s about 30 degrees warmer than most home coffee brewing machines. A burn expert testified that liquid at 180 degrees could cause third-degree burns within fifteen seconds. Lawyers produced documents that showed that between 1983 and 1992, nearly 700 people claimed that McDonald’s coffee burned them”


Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys


So, you’ve got to get behind the headlines to get the whole truth.  A personal injury lawsuit is rarely frivolous. In the Liebeck case, a jury found that McDonald’s had been negligent and careless and injured customers by serving java that was way too hot. If you’ve suffered from negligence or carelessness in Florida, you may need the help of a good personal injury attorney to recover losses and medical expenses.

Consider the Orlando personal injury law firm of Martinez Mangalrdi, PA. We’ve been helping people in Central Florida for more than 30 years. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation.

We get paid only if we win.

Fill out a free case evaluation and discover what Martinez Manglardi can do for you.