A twelve person jury rendered a verdict awarding Liebeck $200,000.00 for her past and future medical care, wage loss, and pain and suffering. Ms. Liebeck was found to be 20% responsible and the award was reduced to $160,000.00. The jury penalized McDonald’s for its indifference towards those being burned and awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages; one to two days of coffee sales. The judge reduced the punitive damages award to $480,000.00. (Judges have the authority to reduce an award if the jury is believed to have awarded an excessive amount.)
You should watch the movie “Hot Coffee,” it is a documentary on the case and how the insurance industry and big moneyed interests have distorted the truth and facts behind the case.
Twelve jurors heard the facts of the case and made an informed decision. Hundreds of millions have heard the misinformation which trivializes Ms. Liebeck’s injuries and vilifies the trial lawyers who stood up for a 79 year-old burn victim against a global corporate giant like McDonald’s.
In the end, you have to consider whether you would prefer to trust twelve ordinary citizens, skeptics like yourself, who have heard the facts and reached a verdict (from the Latin word for truth), or allow a well-funded disinformation campaign to prejudice you. Trust me, the juries that I appear in front of are smart, carefully test the evidence, and render well-reasoned awards. Indeed, many are people just like you who, despite their initial bias against plaintiffs, after hearing the facts, award fair and appropriate compensation.