Should people realize-coffee is hot


Q: Many, which includes possibly some of you, have heard of the 1992 McDonald's "hot coffee" case (Liebeck v McDonald's Restaurants, Inc. You may research this case on the internet). The case involved a woman in the passenger seat of a car that used a drive-through window at a McDonald's in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The plaintiff, who was an elderly female, placed a cup of coffee between her thighs as she exited the restaurant, and when the driver accelerated the car, it spilled on her, which caused third degree burns. The coffee was supposedly 190 degrees, which was alleged to be too hot to serve to consumers.

The attorneys for the plaintiff, Liebeck, had argued that, at 180-190 °F (82-88 °C), McDonald's coffee was defective, further claiming that the coffee was too hot and it was likely that McDonald's coffee would cause serious injury more so than coffee that was served in other restaurants.

According to the National Coffee Association, "the brewing temperature of the water that is used to make coffee is very important. It should be between 195 F (91 C) and 205 F (96 C). The closer to 205 F (96 C) the better. Boiling water (212 F - 100 C) should never be used, as it will burn the coffee. Water that is less than 195 F (91 C) will not extract properly."

Is the problem that the coffee was served in a drive through window or was it that the coffee itself was "too hot" as the plaintiff alleged? Should people realize that coffee is hot? Was the product "defective?" Explain your answers.

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Marketing Management: Should people realize-coffee is hot
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