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A sickening abuse of justice

A while ago, a Taco Bell restaraunt had a scare. One of its employees came down with Hepatitis A, and might have infected customers and co-workers. The restaurant immediately reported it to the state, and also paid for free immunoglobulin treatment for any customers who wanted it.

That wasn't enough for one family. The Evans family sued the chain, saying that they had been sickened twice after eating at the restaurant.

Justice, by some miracle, prevailed.

The judge looked at the family's claims, and at a few other facts:

* None of the family came down with hepatitis.

* No doctor ever told them that their problems were caused by eating at Taco Bell.

* On neither occasion did the family seek medical attention.

So he did the reasonable thing: he threw the case out.

Looks like the family's gonna have to go out and buy some lottery tickets, because they missed this jackpot.


Comments (44)

Well whaddaya know? An ethi... (Below threshold)
Ed:

Well whaddaya know? An ethical common sense lawyer/judge. But really, any LAYMAN with common sense and critical thinking skills could have come to the SAME conclusion.

"By some miracle?"... (Below threshold)
Mark:

"By some miracle?"

Thousands of baseless lawsuits are dismissed by judges every day. No miracle required.

FanTAStic! I suspect the fa... (Below threshold)
LCVRWC:

FanTAStic! I suspect the family (and, more to the point, the lawyer who took the case) felt Taco Bell would settle. I wish more companies would put up a fight against such shake-down type of lawsuits, even if it would cost them a significant amount to fight the first few. It would be cheaper in the long run, and act as a deterrent against similar lawsuits because potential plaintiffs would have to think twice about trying to shake down these companies. I think I shall buy some stock in KFC (KFC owns Taco Bell, right?).

Ed, ethics and common sense... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Ed, ethics and common sense are not the test. The greedy morons failed to make a prima facie case. In other words, the elements of damages and causation were lacking.

Mark,Maybe so, but... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Mark,

Maybe so, but as long as one or two McDonald's coffee type suits make it through the system, it will appear like a miracle is necessary.

Too bad they didn't have to... (Below threshold)

Too bad they didn't have to pay for their abuse of process.

It may be the case that 100... (Below threshold)
Ed:

It may be the case that 1000s of baseless lawsuits are thrown out. But there are also 1000s of cases of baseless lawsuits that aren't. I'll give two examples: the woman who sued MacDonald's because she spilled hot coffee on herself, and the moslem woman in Florida who wanted to take a photo for her drivers license with her burkha on, thus completely covering her face. In the first case, personal responsibility was the basis for throwing that case out. In the second case, common sense, irregardless of the humilation of moslem sensibilities was the basis for throwing that case out.

Did the offending a-holes h... (Below threshold)
Tom:

Did the offending a-holes have to pay for Taco Bell's legal fees? Dang well should have. I'm sick and tired of risk-free frivolous lawsuits. I think a down payment would make people a bit more, shall we say, judicious in claiming, hypothetically, that they found a finger in some chili.

LCVRWC,Unfortunate... (Below threshold)
Ed:

LCVRWC,

Unfortunately, most companies do not put up a fight like Taco Hell did. In fact, Coca Cola is a victim of the race hustler, poverty pimp, and shakedown artist Jesse Jackson. Rather than make him prove discrimination Coca Cola caved, bought him off, and promoted blacks just to placate this guy. Compared to Jesse, this family was a bunch of amateurs.

The judge, Joseph A. DiCler... (Below threshold)
Mark:

The judge, Joseph A. DiClerico, was appointed by President Clinton. Why do the Democrats want judges who screw the little guy in favor of the big, evil corporations?

[/end sarcasm]

I'm always reminded of Lion... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I'm always reminded of Lionel Hutz in moments like these.

"Mr. Simpson, the state bar forbids me from promising you a big cash settlement. But just between you and me, I promise you a big cash settlement."

And the final classic:
"And as for your case, don't you worry. I've argued in front of every judge in this state—often as a lawyer."

Ed:I agree with yo... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Ed:

I agree with you about the McDonalds Coffee case and the Florida Drivers' License case from a common sense perspective.

Unfortunately, the McDonalds plaintiff had some pretty good evidence to work with, and she made a very strong legal case. I understand why she won, but I disagree with the result precisely because people need to exercise personal responsibility to protect themselves.

What happened with the Florida Drivers license case? Wasn't it dismissed?

I would challenge you on the suggestion that thousands of baseless suits survive every day. While there are plenty of examples that reach the newspapers and shock the conscience, they are very rare exceptions in the scheme of things. By and large, the judiciary is very good at weeding out cases that don't meet the legal requirements, and keeping them away from juries. And as long as you stay away from a couple notorious inner city jurisdictions, Juries do an excellent job of applying common sense to the legal mumbo jumbo and arriving at the right conclusion.

I can't believe no one addr... (Below threshold)

I can't believe no one addressed the most unbelievable part of the lawsuit. You can't eat at Taco Bell and then act surprised if you get diarrhea. That's kind of a given isn't it?

Gosh they were "sickened TW... (Below threshold)
NOTR:

Gosh they were "sickened TWICE"?? Reminds me of a version of that ol' saying, "Sickened me once - shame on you, sickened me twice - shame on me."

OK, so it really doesn't go like that...but it is still applicable.

Hats off to the foreperson.... (Below threshold)
Yogurt:

Hats off to the foreperson.
In my limited experience in a jury, they can make the difference. I was a foreman on a jury in MI where an alcoholic maid fell down the stairs at some Big 3 exec's house. The defense had an expert that the design of the stairs was fine, and the carpet and attachment was intact, etc. In the jury room, a couple jurors wanted to award damages based on nothing more than she was poor, and the homeowner had lots, so let her have some. I finally prevailed in convincing those jurors since there was no negligence (with which they agreed), we could not award damages, but it was no easy task...
Yogs

Blog Dog and Tom:I... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Blog Dog and Tom:

I doubt Taco Bell recovered their legal fees, and this is where the legal system really stinks of liberalism.

The Federal system has Rule 11 which can be used to impose monetary sanctions against people who file bad lawsuits ("bad" is defined in various limited ways.) Some states have similar provisions, some do not. Some state laws require fraud in the pleadings. Some only require that the case be frivolous or objectively baseless. Some states just don't give a shit. But sometimes these laws are used to reimburse wrongly sued defendants for their legal fees and costs.

The bottom line is this: Each defendant must file motions with the court to challenge the sufficiency of the plaintiff's papers. If it can be proven that the plaintiff cannot win, even assuming every lie told by the plaintiff is true, then the case is thrown out. This costs thousands of dollars, and it is only one of the first steps in defending a case.

If it is thrown out then it's up to the judge to apply it's state law on monetary sanctions. Most judges are usually reluctant to apply those laws to take money from the "little guy" and give it to the corporation, even when the little guy is a spiteful lying piece of shit. But it does happen.

Regardless of sanctions or fee awards, most states entitle the prevailing litigant to recover most of the litigation costs. This does not include legal fees (which are the big part), but the costs can be substantial if a case goes through trial, in the range of $20,000 to $100,000.

If there were real heavenly... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

If there were real heavenly justice involved?

The family would get hep A. from their own cooking.

Then again, this doesn't sound like the type of family that watches a whole lot of Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals.

Two words for them: Family-sized microwavables!

Gosh they were "sickened TW... (Below threshold)
NOTR:

Gosh they were "sickened TWICE"?? Reminds me of a version of that ol' saying, "Sickened me once - shame on you, sickened me twice - shame on me."

OK, so it really doesn't go like that...but it is still applicable.

Mark,Thanks for the ... (Below threshold)

Mark,
Thanks for the considered reply.

Sheik Your Bouty: "...one o... (Below threshold)
Joel Franklin:

Sheik Your Bouty: "...one or two McDonald's coffee type suits..."

Two facts stand out from that case.

1. McD's intended for the plaintiff to put the coffe in her mouths.
2. McD's made the coffee hot enough to cause her third degree burns.

Saying that the plaintiff should have known the coffee was hot is fuzzy thinking. Molten iron is hot, and a July afternoon is hot. In her initial dealings with McD's, she DID take partial responsibility. McD's didn't accede to her requests, so she sued. She won a few tens of thousands of dollars in damages, and McD's was required to pay an extra few hundred thousand dollars as punishment.

Following up on Joel Frankl... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Following up on Joel Franklin's comments:

McD's received several complaints about the temp of their coffee, and some pretty blatant warnings, as I understand it. Others had been burned, and there was little justification for maintaining the excessively high temp.

On the other hand, every consumer knows that coffee served to go is usually too hot to drink immediately. Duh. That doesn't mean everyone knows it will cause third degree burns, but that knowledge charges people with the responsibility of being careful. That means carefully checking the temp before gulping, and it means DONT PUT FLIMSY CUPS BETWEEN YOUR LEGS WHEN YOU DRIVE!!!

I believe McD's was negligent considering the previous warnings. But the customer was more negligent, and certainly had the last opportunity to avoid the accident by using common sense and being careful.

Different states have different systems to apportion blame between the two parties. In some states, if McD's was 30 percent at fault, and the plaintiff was 70 percent, McD's would pay 30 percent of the damages. In some states, if the plaintiff;s culpability is greater than 50 percent, then they recover nothing. In some states, if the plaintiff bears any fault at all, they recover nothing. I don't know how fault was apportioned in that coffee case, nor do I recall what state it was in (Cal.?)

I've heard this Mc Donald's... (Below threshold)
John S.:

I've heard this Mc Donald's crap about 3rd degree burns before. 3rd degree burns consist of charred flesh caused by open flames. Water in its liquid form cannot exceed 212 degrees. Period. Last time I checked, coffee is 99.995% water and it's a liquid. It's incapable of charring flesh.

John S.One definit... (Below threshold)
Mark:

John S.

One definition of 3rd degree burn is this:

"Burn, third degree: A burn in which the damage has progressed to the point of skin death. The skin is white and without sensation."

That can occur as a result of scalding water or even over exposure to the sun.

While I doubt the coffee exceeded 212 degrees, your statement that water cannot exceed that temperature is blatantly false. Water merely boils at that temp., but it is capable of being heated to much higher temps.

Its just like the lawsuit a... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Its just like the lawsuit aganst fast food resruants by some over weight jerks who would rather blame McDonalds,Burger King,Carls Jr,KFC and Taco Bell rather then their own careless behavior but here on the good side the firearms companies will be protected from frivlous lawsuits AND LET US THE FIRST THINGS WE LET US KILL ALL THE LAWYERS...WILLIAM sHAKESPEAR

Two facts stand out from... (Below threshold)
scott:

Two facts stand out from that case.

1. McD's intended for the plaintiff to put the coffe in her mouths.
2. McD's made the coffee hot enough to cause her third degree burns.

Third fact that stands out:

Dumb bitch knowingly put that hot coffee between her legs in a moving vehicle...

Hey, the woman was 81 years... (Below threshold)
Robert Modean:

Hey, the woman was 81 years old at the time - she'd probably put her coffee cup between her legs for years without incident. My father used to put a heavy ceramic mug filled with coffee on the dash of his car. He did it for years without incident, then one day he hit a pothole and the cup flew up and the coffee rained down, so now he keeps it in a Styrofoam cup in a cup holder. So what's my point?

My point is that her behavior was reasonable. She had a reasonable expectation that the coffee, if spilled, wouldn't give her a 3rd degree burn. The McDonald's in question served it's coffee at least 20 degrees hotter than any other local restaurant, had received hundreds of complaints about it, and still continued to engage in a potentially dangerous activity - that's simple negligence on McD's part. Just because she screwed up doesn't forgive McD's culpability, she deserves every bit of the 430K she got for getting burned.

Sorry to interrupt with som... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Sorry to interrupt with some actual facts, but a lot of you guys are perpetuating myths about this McDonald's case. First, the "dumb bitch" didn't put coffee between her legs while driving. Her son-in-law, the driver, pulled to a stop so she could put cream and sugar in her coffee. Whe she took off the styrofoam lid, the entire contents spilled in her lap.

Second, a vascular surgeon determined that she suffered full thickness burns (or third-degree burns) over 6 percent of her body, including her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin grafting and debridement treatments.

Third, McDonald's had received 700 complaints of burns from their coffee in a 10 year period, including burns to infants and burns caused by McDonald's employees dropping cups of coffee in customers' laps. McDonald's policy was to keep its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees. Coffee served at home is typically 135 to 140 degrees. The woman's treating physician testified that her injury was one of the worst scald burns he had ever seen.

Finally, the woman initially offered to settle with McDonald's for $20,000. They refused. At trial, the jury found her 20 percent negligent. They awarded her $200,000 in compensatory damages, reduced to $160,000 because of her negligence. They also awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages (McDonald's revenue from coffee at the time was $1.3 million a day.) The judge reduced the punitive to $480,000, I believe because state statute limits punitive damages to a certain percentage of compensatory damages. They ultimately reached a post-verdict settlement, which was likely less than that.

The reason this matters is because corporate lobbyists have used this case, more than any other, to argue that we should have limited rights to sue companies because of this kind of "abuse." I don't see why they should be able to take away my right to have a jury decide my case. And by the way, the Taco Bell case was thrown out, so it seems the system worked.

One area we do agree on. The solution to frivolous lawsuits is to contest the suits. Lawyers take ridiculous cases because they can count on a settlement. Companies settle because they don't want to take a chance on losing at trial. Sorry, but that's their business decision. They're risk averse, so the answer is to take away my rights. I don't think so.

Mark:While I do... (Below threshold)
Inquiring:

Mark:

While I doubt the coffee exceeded 212 degrees, your statement that water cannot exceed that temperature is blatantly false. Water merely boils at that temp., but it is capable of being heated to much higher temps.

Yes and no. Water can be heated past 212 degrees F, but it requires a pressure cooker or a similar device, without one you can apply heat all you want and the water will never increase even a single degree. When water is boiling it is undergoing a phase change, during a phase change the temperature remains constant until the phase change is complete (in this case from water into steam/vapor).

The same is true of ice, dump heat into ice and the actual ice and surrounding water will not increase past 32 degrees F, as all the energy is going into changing the form of the substance.

It gets a bit more complicated, but that is close enough for government work.

Chris:Thanks for f... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris:

Thanks for filling in the facts and correcting misperceptions (including mine about the "between the legs" bit.) You know far more about the case than I. I agree with your analysis at the end regarding the need to contest cases. As General Counsel of a multi-national product manufacturer throughout the 90's I did just that--and it works. I could tell ya stories.

Inquiring:

I stand corrected, in part. Thanks.

BS! Any moron who doesn't ... (Below threshold)

BS! Any moron who doesn't expect coffee to be shot should be removed from the gene pool. In the morning, I toss an ice cube in my cup before pouring in coffee. We have a couple lawyers here saying juries should decide. Problem is juries see a major corporation with billions in annual earnings and decide no one is hurt if they give a lottery payment out to someone. Reality is sure a corporation with billions in assets may have buck to spare. But what is a corporation? It is a company owned by millions of people based on the number of shares they hold. Ronald won't feel the pain of a BS lawsuit and neither will the Taco Bell dog but shareholders in each company will. The only way to reduce the BS lawsuits is to make the losing lawyer pay the legal fees of the winner. This isn't just about the idiot with coffee. If someone slips on your sidewalk you're in danger. Why do schools chase people off their fields outside school hours? Fear of someone getting hurt and suing. When I was a kid if I got hurt it was my fault. Today when someone gets hurt it is a matter of who can I blame and sue. If a bus of lawyers goes off a cliff the only shame is the empty seats.

LargeBill:Juries a... (Below threshold)
Mark:

LargeBill:

Juries are not nearly as anti-corporation as you might think. Really, the vast majority are driven by common sense. In my career, my juries have kept all the widows and orphans on the street where they belong. Seriously--the jury system works.

As for awarding legal fees, that ain't gonna happen outside the few exceptions that already exist. The policy consensus (not saying I necessarily agree with it) is that we want to make justice available to people who can't afford it. If every loser was penalized by paying attorneys fees, even in good-faith close-call cases, then the chilling effect would deprive the masses of justice. Is that the system we want? No, but there should be a better system of penalizing the more moronic plaintiffs.

Getting back to Chris:

What rights do you think you might be deprived of? Punitive damages? If that's it, there is no "right" and it is really a construct of bad policy. Actual damages are all anyone is really entitled to, not windfalls. I'm not totally against punies, but there needs to be reasonable limits.

As an active advocate of tort reform in the 90's who had a hand (one of zillions) in drafting and revising the bill that was vetoed by Clinton in the mid-90's, I'm not really sure where you're coming from.

MarkThanks for you... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Mark

Thanks for your reasonable response. I should make my position more clear, because I do recognize that there are several iterations of tort reform. I believe that if corporations have their way, all awards will be capped, which is what I oppose and where I feel my rights are in danger. I think a jury that hears a case is best equipped to decide things like pain and suffering. What I'm responding to is the attitude of people like LargeBill. Whether he realizes it or not, what he's basically opposed to is the American jury system. Does he really think that civil suits are the only place where juries can make bad decisions based on emotion? So some jurors are idiots, so what else is new? I think the system still works better than any other that we've seen.

I guess the one place where I can agree with tort reformers is in the area of punitive damages. I still think juries should be able to award whatever punitive damages they think are fair, I just don't necessarily think that the money should all go to the plaintiff. Philosophically it seems punitive damages address the defendant's behavior, and don't really apply to the plaintiff. Perhaps the plaintiff can designate a charity that will receive the funds, excluding political parties and perhaps religious organizations. (Maybe that's unworkable.) Or the money can go to the public defender's office. Or perhaps the ACLU. (That last part's just to be provocative.)

We shouldn't make it either... (Below threshold)
Battsman:

We shouldn't make it either or. This tendency to swing to extremes is a bad human foible.

I'm definitely for Tort reform, and I believe the sheer volume of legal cases are devastating to our nation.

However, without punitive damages, more of the corruption (we're talking humans here) shifts once more from the lawyers to corporations, and let's not be naive. Corporations will occasionally put out a faulty automobile (for example) rather than fix it, if the final cost of resulting injuries is considered "worth it."

Let's have both. Let's nail sleazy lawyers and plaintiffs who are trying to abuse the system and win the lottery, but let's also seriously punish any cretins who knowingly (I think "knowingly" should be a factor) push a dangerous product.

If a company has followed all established procedures, and their product passes tests, and then 20 years later (with new technology and time) is found to be harmful, we should consider that FAR less culpable than those cases where companies just do the wrong thing from the get go.

Chris:I haven't be... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Chris:

I haven't been intimately involved in tort reform efforts during the past 6 years, but I loosely follow the more recent efforts. I could be missing something, but I'm not aware of any efforts to cap jury verdicts outside the realm of medical malpractice cases.

On that front, California was a leader in passing MICRA (Medical Insurance Crisis Reform Act, as I recall) in 1984 (I believe), and it capped "pain and suffering" at $250,000 per person. It also capped the percentage attorneys can charge in contingency fee cases involving medical malpractice. That was a policy decision arising from a true medical insurance crisis, but I have mixed fealings about its propriety or efficacy. One thing that should not be forgotten is that economic damages are not capped at all. If a baby suffers a birth injury requiring $50,000,000 in lifetime care, she'll recieve that. Only the pain and suffering is capped, so she'll get $50,250,000. I know more states are seeking to make a similar change now.

I am aware that many are seeking more manageable and predictible parameters for punitive damages. We hear about absurd runaway punie awards, and something should be done on that front. But I am in favor of preserving them in a tweaked form rather than eliminating them altogether.

Battsman is correct in acknowledging that some scumbags sacrifice the safety of consumers to save a buck, and they need to be stopped. However, I sincerely doubt that is as common as we're led to believe. I've handled enough manufacturers, including most auto manufacturers, to know first hand that nearly all of what the MSM spews on this front is, well, "fake but accurate," at best.

Most tort reform advocated by corporations merely seeks uniformity among the states, and that is what I pushed the hardest. For example, each state has it's own legal definition for "defect" in product liability cases. If you design to satisfy one test, you run a very real and serious risk of violating the comparable test of a sister state. The problem is amplified when you consider remedial measures; some states use improvements agaisnt the older version of a product, some do not. Therefore the incentives to advance technology are severly diminished. If you improve something, the former version or model may suddenly be deemed defective in some states. What to do?

Also, each state has different statutes of limitations, and some have statutes of repose while some do not. Statues of repose limit the ability to sue about a product over a certain age. Therefore, for example, in states without repose, a manufacturer of saw mill machinery manufactured in the 1930's can be sued today because that machinery is not equipped with state-of-the-art safety mechanisms that are required by today's industry standards. Meanwhile, they cannot be sued in states that have such statutes. How does one insure for or retain reserves to handle potential liability for products made more than half a century ago?--particularly when you don't even know whether they still exist?

Now, stop for a minute and put yourself in the shoes of an engineer who is designing products for world-wide distribution. What do you do? How many different products must you design and manufacture for each friggin state and country? I'm sure you can imagine how wasteful that system is.

Also imagine being an attorney talking to teams of engineers, both foriegn and domestic, and trying to explain why their brainchild may or may not be a liability to the company because of the screwed up tort system. That ain't fun.

Fortunately, the jury system does work. It can be costly to build a case on either side, but the results are fair far more often than not (despite what the MSM would have us believe). At least I've been lucky enough to have juries consistently agree with my view of fairness, and that's what I'm paid to accomplish. With minor improvements, I can't think of a better system.

Since the water in this cas... (Below threshold)

Since the water in this case had a foreign substance mixexd in (which more often than not increases the boiling temperature), there IS a chance it might have been above the atmospheric pressure boiling point of pure water. Think about Anti-freeze mixed with water, what is ITS boiling point? Any cook with their salt (heh) knows that when you boil water, you add salt to the water to increase its boiling temperature so that the food cooks faster.

212 Deg Fahrenheit is the boiling temperature for pure water at 14.71 psia.

While the coffee was most likely not even that hot, it COULD have increased in temperature beyond that (I have yet to see tabulated data on the boiling temperature of water mixed with coffee grains).

Of course compounding on wh... (Below threshold)

Of course compounding on what Inquiry said.

MarkAlthough I cer... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Mark

Although I certainly haven't studied the issue, it seems that uniformity is a reasonable thing. My issue is the capping of pain and suffering awards. And although I'm not generally a fan of slippery slope arguments, I really don't believe the tort reform people would fold up their tents once medical malpractice awards were capped. As I think we've both agreed, outrageous awards are much more rare than most people believe (and are often reduced substatially by judges or in settlement negotiations.) If a housewife is incapacitated by the clear negligence of a company (or another person) a jury will look at her earning potential (which, being a housewife, was minimal) and devise an award accordingly. Yet she could be in agony for the rest of her life. Or a person in a desk job could suffer an injury that doesn't affect his earning power, but makes it impossible to play with his children. That's where the suffering comes in, and that's the kind of information a jury sjhould be allowed to consider. I just feel that the philosophy behind our jury system is that a group of citizens hears the entirety of a case, and makes a decision using their best judgement. Taking that power away from them to protect corporations and insurance companies who want to be in a no risk business goes against our system of justice. And as I said, in many cases the judge, who also knows all of the facts, is empowered to reduce an outrageous award (as happened in the McDonald's case.)

And for those who complain that lawsuits are clogging our leagal system, please bear in mind that the vast majority of litigation in this coutry is businesses suing each other.

My initial feeling is to si... (Below threshold)
epador:

My initial feeling is to side against McD on this one. They ignored repeated warnings that the hot coffee was unsafe, and know their stuff is going to people in cars (unstable platforms). The case seems strong, given the facts of the injury.

However, I can't agree with the arguements that say "well, having done this before so many times without injury, I thought it would be safe." You might walk across the freeway blindfolded many times and miraculously not be hurt, but that does not make the practice safe.

It was a stupidly unsafe thing to have an elderly person open a hot coffee in a car, where if it spills, it will spill into the lap and cause the burns that did occur. Whether the cofffee was 140 degrees or 180 degrees, the chance for serious skin damage would have been there (less severe if coffee less hot, but still quite nasty). As you age your skin become more liable to damage, increasing the risks for this particular plaintiff.

I wonder where the State Public Health Department was, or the State legislators, neither effectively controlling the temperature of carry out hot liquids.

If I were King, I would have dismissed the case, fined McD's for health/safety violations and used the money for public training in risk management and safety.

As far as the Taco Bell cas... (Below threshold)
epador:

As far as the Taco Bell case, if I were King, I would have long ago closed all the Taco Bells for food safety violations (amen on the diarrhea), so the complaint would never have happened. Anyone trying to foist a frivolous suit like this one would be "hoisted" by a special non-lethal petard (bomb covered with chicken and pig feces) alongside their attorney. Seems etymologically just. [free associations of hot air coming from attorney, fart - French peter, and various forms of body waste from appropriate animals, blowing a situation out of proportion, etc.]

Mark/Chris - Aren't you guy... (Below threshold)
r:

Mark/Chris - Aren't you guys losing like $1000hr. with this banter?

Mark/Chris - Aren't you guy... (Below threshold)
r:

Mark/Chris - Aren't you guys losing like $1000hr. with this banter?

r:Yeah, wanna hit ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

r:

Yeah, wanna hit my paypal tip jar a bit?

Chris:

I'm with ya on pain and suffering in general. Tho I have mixed feelings about California's MICRA limits. The MICRA caps were not so much to protect the insurance companies, as they were to protect the healthcare system. Exhorbitant malpractice premiums were causing practitioners in high risk medical fields, like obstetrics, to divert to lower risk fields, and the face of medicine was changing. MICRA helped that at the expense of fair pain and suffering awards. I'm really on the fence as to whether that was a good policy decision.

Henry:Too true, es... (Below threshold)
Inquiring:

Henry:

Too true, especially adding the air pressure values, which is significant when talking about boiling liquids.

To take the salt example in cooking further: it takes about 58g of salt just to raise the boiling point of 1 L of water by 1 degree C; in pounds and gallons that is about 2oz (about .12 lbs), of salt to raise the boiling point of 0.26 gallons (a bit more than 1 quart) of water to approx 214 degree F (100 C compared to 101 C conversion). Talking some very salty water to see any appreciable decrease in cooking time.

Tried looking up the boiling point of coffee, all references talk about brewing coffee below its boiling point, and consequently below the boiling point of water. Feel it is safe to assume that coffee does not raise the boiling point any significant amount.

True, all of that was off topic, but a bit more knowledge adds depth.

So, let me get this right. ... (Below threshold)

So, let me get this right. The "company" (managment and all) did the right thing and notified the state, who in turn offered the shots needed in this case FREE OF CHARGE (meaning really at taxpayer expense) to any customer of that restaurant who wanted it. This family REJECTED the free shot, but in stead chose to sue, even though none of them have Hep, or anything close to it, and in fact only could say they were "sickened" by the food. I've been "sickened" many times by food at restaurants when the food is not cooked right, or when I'm just allergic to something I didn't know about, maybe I should start filing suit each time I get a little "tummy ache" from a restaurant. My God, is personal responsibility COMPLETELY DEAD?

I'm GLAD they were told to SHUT UP about this and did not "hit the jackpot" in this case. At least there is ONE judge with a brain out there.




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