Legal Myths: The McDonald’s “Hot Coffee” Case

In 1992 Stella Liebeck, a 79-year old retired sales clerk, bought a 49-cent cup of coffee from a drive-through McDonald’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was in the passenger seat of a car driven by her grandson. Ms. Liebeck placed the cup between her legs and removed the lid to add cream and sugar when the hot coffee spilled out on her lap causing third-degree burns on her groin, inner thighs and buttocks.