Coffee is intended to be served very hot, something that any reasonable adult should be well aware of. And yet, that hasn't stopped a steady stream of people from suing restaurants over the temperature of their caffeinated beverages.
The most famous of these is a 1993 lawsuit filed against McDonald's by a senior citizen named Stella Liebeck, who was awarded nearly $3 million after suffering severe third-degree burns from a cup of coffee that spilled in her lap. Since then, the company has paid out piles of money in numerous similar suits, and the litigation just keeps on coming: According to ABC 30, two more people in Fresno, Calif., Darlene Jenkins and Robin Bebout, are now suing McDonald's after coffee spills caused them second-degree burns.
Jenkins and Bebout have both retained attorney Nicholas "Butch" Wagner, who also represented another Fresno woman who filed a hot coffee suit against McDonald's back in 2013. Wagner claims that the company is putting profits ahead of people by knowingly serving its coffee much too hot; McDonald's has previously stated it holds its coffee at around 180 degrees to maintain optimum taste and freshness, compared to the 140 degrees or so that coffee brewed at home is typically served at. Wagner estimates that this practice saves McDonald's "more than $1 million a day at franchises across the country," which would almost certainly equate to much more than the chain could possibly pay out in annual hot coffee settlements.
McDonald's isn't the only chain to be plagued by such lawsuits. Starbucks has also faced its own fair share of hot beverage-related litigation. Earlier this year it was sued by a Florida man who says he suffered second-degree burns to his groin after an employee dropped a cup of coffee in his lap, and a couple months prior to that a woman sued the company for $132,000 after she says she received a cup of hot water that was much too hot.
McDonald's did not immediately respond to request for comment. Check out the complaint filed against McDonald's by Darlene Jenkins in the Superior Court of California, below: