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Woman Sues McDonald's for Coffee Burns, Produces Fake Photos as Proof

Looks like she won't be taking home millions.


Not all coffee burns turn into huge paydays: A woman based in Victorville, Calif. alleged that McDonald's coffee was too hot to handle, but the photos she produced as proof of the injuries she sustained were found to be fake.

Selena Edwards claimed to the court that after placing an order at a McDonald's drive-thru, an employee handed her a hot cup of coffee with a faulty lid. She alleged that the lid came loose, and that the hot coffee that spilled on her hand gave her second degree burns. Included in her paperwork were several photos she claimed were of her burns. Investigators found that she had pulled the photos off of a hospital's website.

Edwards' scam is costing her: She's now facing 21 felony counts of insurance and workers' compensation fraud. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones released a statement clearly meant to discourage other would-be coffee burn copy cats: "By copying legitimate burn photos from the internet, Edwards attempted to make a profit from another person's pain and suffering and for this she will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Selena Edwards isn't the first person to think McDonald's coffee is too hot. Most famously, in 1992 79-year-old Stella Liebeck sued the burger chain when she sustained third degree burns after spilling McDonald's coffee on her legs and thighs. Liebeck was awarded nearly $3 million, but only walked away with $640,000.

A similar case involving hot coffee at a Denny's location — involving a negligent waitress — resulted in a $500,000 settlement.

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