Deep Pockets & Lawsuits: Lawyer laws

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Dinosaur, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    In the 1940's when more than one party was judged to be responsible for damages, a judge or jury assigned percentage of blame. Examples:

    A drunk driver in a company car causes an accident. A jury could assess 95% (or less) of the blame to the driver & the company would be responsible for the remainder of the costs.

    Cica 5-10 years ago, a women spilled coffee from a McDonalds drive-in on her lap & was badly burned. McDonalds was sued for a huge sum, much of which was for pain & suffering (The medical costs were minimal). The lawsuit was based on a claim that the coffee was excessively hot. Gee Whiz!! Should McDonalds sell luke warm coffee? Under the old laws, most of the blame & costs would probably be assigned to the woman for being a careless Klutz.​

    The new laws favor lawyers, who typically get at least one third of the money won in lawsuits. Note that many members of congress/senate are lawyers & the change in blame assesement laws favors lawyers, who typically get at least one third of the money awarded.

    BTW: Until recently insider trading laws did not apply to congressmen/senators. I am not sure if they applied to members of state & local legislators. These laws should have applied to legislators from day 1 of our constitution. It seems outrageous that a congressman/senator used to be allowed to buy/sell stocks, knowing that legislation about to be proposed & passed would have an effect of the price of certain stocks (or all stocks if it related to the taxing of dividends or capital gains).
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    The coffee was not just “hot,” but dangerously hot. McDonald’s corporate policy was to serve it at a temperature that could cause serious burns in seconds. Mrs. Liebeck’s injuries were far from frivolous. She was wearing sweatpants that absorbed the coffee and kept it against her skin. She suffered third-degree burns (the most serious kind) and required skin grafts on her inner thighs and elsewhere.

    Liebeck’s case was far from an isolated event. McDonald’s had received more than 700 previous reports of injury from its coffee, including reports of third-degree burns, and had paid settlements in some cases.

    Mrs. Liebeck offered to settle the case for $20,000 to cover her medical expenses and lost income. But McDonald’s never offered more than $800, so the case went to trial. The jury found Mrs. Liebeck to be partially at fault for her injuries, reducing the compensation for her injuries accordingly. But the jury’s punitive damages award made headlines — upset by McDonald’s unwillingness to correct a policy despite hundreds of people suffering injuries, they awarded Liebeck the equivalent of two days’ worth of revenue from coffee sales for the restaurant chain. That wasn’t, however, the end of it. The original punitive damage award was ultimately reduced by more than 80 percent by the judge. And, to avoid what likely would have been years of appeals, Mrs. Liebeck and McDonald’s later reached a confidential settlement.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    My personal experience of take-away McDonald's coffees (such as you get when you drive through) is that they are usually too hot. Apart from the danger factor, espressos shouldn't be served too hot.
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  7. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I still maintain that a person who buys coffee & drinks it while driving is primarily responsible for being burned when it is spilled.

    Why did they award any punitive damages? At most, there should have been payment for medical expenses, with some percentage to be paid by the person who spilled the coffe & the remainder to be paid by McDonalds. I would assess the spiller to be responsible for at least 70% of the costs & would not consider 95% to be unreasonable.

    The extent of the damages & the related pain should not be considered. The issue is: Which party is most responsible for the problem. To me, a person who drinks hot coffee while driving is primarily responsible for the incident.

    Juries (& to some extent judges) are too prone to consider who has deep pockets & can afford to pay, rather than considering who is primarily responsible for the damages.
  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

    The divide between rich/deep pockets and poor is from the democratic party playbook. If we combine this with the fact that defense lawyers contribute very heavily to the democratic party, One can see how these masters of deception help each other out.

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