The personal injury case verdict in which Stella Liebeck was awarded $2.9 million after being severely burned by a McDonald cup of coffee that she spilled on her lap became an immediate media sensation. Corporations used it to push tort reform and the case gave rise to the attacks on “frivolous lawsuits”. The award was reduced on appeal to less than $500,000.
More than 20 years later, Retro Report revisits the story, providing us with the real facts and the New York Times reflects on how the lawsuit has changed the way we drink coffee in the US. James Poulos provides a political follow up on the story at the Daily Beast.