Screengrab via truTV/YouTube

Here’s the truth behind that McDonald’s coffee lawsuit

Think it was just a greedy lady? Think again.


Monica Riese


Published Dec 15, 2016   Updated May 25, 2021, 9:18 am CDT

Though McDonald’s coffee cups have lately been in the news for far more NSFW reasons, for years their most notable feature was a “Caution: Contents Hot” warning that seemed hilariously obvious.

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That addition was part of the settlement in the case of Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, which you’ve probably heard referred to as the infamous coffee case, and which you probably believe was brought by a greedy lady just seeking millions of dollars for making a dumb mistake. Trouble is, that’s not right: 79-year-old Stella Liebeck suffered disfiguring, third-degree burns all over her legs and genitals after her accident, and she really just wanted the restaurant to help pay her medical bills and stop serving coffee at 20 degrees shy of boiling point.

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In the latest episode of Adam Ruins Everything, Adam sets the record straight:

The McDonald’s coffee case has long been upheld by opponents as the prime example of a frivolous lawsuit, but in reality, it was anything but. Bet you don’t feel so smug anymore, do you?

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*First Published: Dec 15, 2016, 8:10 pm CST