May 7, 2024

How One Person's McRib Turned into a McNightmare

McOuch Image

Do you remember the woman that sued McDonald’s over hot coffee that spilled on her lap in her car?  

In Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, the jury awarded Mrs. Lieback millions of dollars for her injuries.  

Sounds ridiculous.  But once you know the full story, you’ll see our justice system’s virtue.  

But first, let me tell you about a new case Morgan & Morgan is fighting.  

Tillman Stepherson went to a McDonald’s one afternoon last December. Mr. Stepherson ordered two McRibs.  

The McRib is advertised on McDonald’ as a “boneless pork” sandwich.  As an aside, the McRib has been on and off McDonald’s menu since its debut thirty years ago.  Actually, in 2010, The United States Humane Society filed an SEC complaint against McDonald's pork supplier, claiming the company subjects animals to hellish conditions.  For now, unfortunately for Mr. Stepherson’s story, the McRib is back on the menu.  

The complaint filed by Morgan & Morgan alleges: when Mr. Stepherson returned home from eating the McRibs, he became violently ill for days.  An x-ray revealed he needed surgery to remove a brown foreign object from his digestive tract. He suffered from an infection after the surgery, and continues to suffer from other complications due to the McRibs.  

Back to Mrs. Lieback:  The 79-year-old grandmother was not driving when she spilled the coffee.  Her grandson was. He pulled over so she could put cream in her coffee.  The coffee spilled. She suffered third degree burns requiring skin grafts.  She spent days in the hospital.  

She asked McDonald’s to pay her medical bills.  McDonald’s offered her $800, treating her like a “nuisance settlement.”  She needed her out-of-pocket expenses paid, so she took them to court. 

The lawsuit revealed that to avoid frequently brewing fresh coffee pots, McDonald’s chose to keep its coffee at near scalding levels; fifty degrees higher than industry standards. Top McDonald’s representatives admitted they knew the coffee would cause burns.  They received over 700 burn complaints and had settled claims, but refused to change their corporate policy.     

America is rare in that corporate entities can be held accountable in court.  Morgan & Morgan will provide a check on McDonald’s that Mr. Stepherson needs, to the maximum extent, in Florida, where this occurred.  

Morgan & Morgan is eager to engage in discovery for Mr. Stepherson.  Here’s what John Morgan and Robert Culpepper has to say: “McDonald’s has an obligation to ensure their food is prepared and stored safely for public consumption.  The complaint alleges that McDonald’s failed to adequately inspect their McRib sandwich, marketed as boneless, which led Tillman Stepherson to ingest a hard brown object that required invasive surgery to remove.  We will fight to hold McDonald’s accountable and urge them to prioritize food safety and take the necessary steps to prevent sickening other customers.”

As always, fighting for the people.  We'll keep you posted on how this one goes. 

Written by Jason M. Ingber. 

Jason hosts a weekly podcast called “Out of the Courtroom”.