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Thread: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    Seems to me it was a problem, serving a beverage hot enough to inflict third degree burns in a flimsy container passed into a vehicle.

    I am curious what percentage of customers you think needs to be seriously injured before it becomes something they should concern themselves with?
    A lot higher than 7*10^-6% (or 0.000007 % in layman's terms)
    Last edited by Ikari; 08-30-11 at 06:55 PM.
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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    A lot higher than 7*10^-6%
    A number? So, maybe a million third degree burns before they should turn the temperature down? Maybe just 100,000?

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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    A number? So, maybe a million third degree burns before they should turn the temperature down? Maybe just 100,000?
    They could, and probably should, have turned the temp down earlier. The point is though, 70 burns/year vs. at the time ~ 1 Billion coffee cups/year (the 700 number cited is a 10 year period). If it was a true problem with container, not operator error, the number would have been MUCH higher. What that number says isn't so much that it would be wise to turn the temp down on the coffee, but rather that the INDIVIDUAL is more at fault than the structural integrity of the holding device (cup in this case). She put the cup between her legs, removed the lid, spilled it, and was not able to remove her clothing quick enough to avoid burns.

    I wonder how many people in the court system actually understand numbers, math, and statistics. It doesn't seem like that many.
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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    They could, and probably should, have turned the temp down earlier. The point is though, 70 burns/year vs. at the time ~ 1 Billion coffee cups/year (the 700 number cited is a 10 year period). If it was a true problem with container, not operator error, the number would have been MUCH higher. What that number says isn't so much that it would be wise to turn the temp down on the coffee, but rather that the INDIVIDUAL is more at fault than the structural integrity of the holding device (cup in this case). She put the cup between her legs, removed the lid, spilled it, and was not able to remove her clothing quick enough to avoid burns.

    I wonder how many people in the court system actually understand numbers, math, and statistics. It doesn't seem like that many.
    I think the main point was that it was perfectly foreseeable that a significant number of people drinking their coffee in cars would have spills, so they shouldn't have had the temperature so hot that people would suffer third degree burns when the inevitable happened.

    IMO this case, which has been used so often to run down our tort system, is actually a good example of how the tort system is effective. Big companies like McDs aren't going to address even serious safety issues if it's cheaper for them to ignore the problem. They were well aware of the problem and had already settled similar claims for as much as $500,000, but that wasn't enough to get their attention.

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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by nonpareil View Post
    What is best is if you stop using fallacies and stick to facts. Where is the evidence that he molested his daughter? How do you know what the daughter feel? Some children want to know their parents despite a criminal past, who are you to say this girl wouldn't?

    This thread is full of hypocrisy, on the one hand people are using the fact that there was no criminal trial to say that the owners didn't commit murder, then turn around and say the jury was wrong in convicting him of wrongful killing. Either the system works, or it doesn't, you don't get to say that it works when it suit your arguement then say it's not when it doesn't.
    Read the posts again, because I never said he molested his daughter. Somebody disagreed with me when I said that "sometimes no father is better than a piece of **** father" and I was providing sample scenario.
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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    I think the main point was that it was perfectly foreseeable that a significant number of people drinking their coffee in cars would have spills, so they shouldn't have had the temperature so hot that people would suffer third degree burns when the inevitable happened.
    But is .000007 % a "significant" number? Not really. Do you even know what a significant number means or how to quantify it? Or is it just a word to throw out?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    IMO this case, which has been used so often to run down our tort system, is actually a good example of how the tort system is effective. Big companies like McDs aren't going to address even serious safety issues if it's cheaper for them to ignore the problem. They were well aware of the problem and had already settled similar claims for as much as $500,000, but that wasn't enough to get their attention.
    I take it as a demonstration of the dumbing down of our judicial system. People weren't asked to think, in fact lawyers don't want them to. They want to get them to react, so that they can set up the scenario to get them to react in predetermined ways. There's no incentive to think about the problem, to actually look at the numbers and ask if there is a problem. I wouldn't have exactly absolved McDonald's completely of wrong doing, they certainly should have lowered the temp of their coffee. But when 99.999993% of the people are NOT burning themselves, that should go well into saying that the individual holds majority responsibility in the case and judgment should properly reflect that. It's also the reason why lawyers don't like scientists to sit on juries. They're not fans of rational thinkers. They need emotional responders.
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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Juries make bad decisions because lawyers monkey with the make up of a jury of peers to get a jury which is more sympathetic to their case.
    ...which is precisely why OJ wasn't found guilty!
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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    But is .000007 % a "significant" number? Not really. Do you even know what a significant number means or how to quantify it? Or is it just a word to throw out?
    I think it's a bit subjective, but I don't think it necessarily makes sense to look at it from a probability standpoint. You've got 700 people who didn't have to be seriously injured; all the company had to do was turn down the temperature of its coffee makers. Let's take another example: say that Acme Co. learns that 10 out of 1 million jars of spaghetti sauce have been dosed with anthrax, but there's no way for them to know which ones. Is it unreasonable to expect them to recall the jars?

    I take it as a demonstration of the dumbing down of our judicial system. People weren't asked to think, in fact lawyers don't want them to. They want to get them to react, so that they can set up the scenario to get them to react in predetermined ways. There's no incentive to think about the problem, to actually look at the numbers and ask if there is a problem. I wouldn't have exactly absolved McDonald's completely of wrong doing, they certainly should have lowered the temp of their coffee. But when 99.999993% of the people are NOT burning themselves, that should go well into saying that the individual holds majority responsibility in the case and judgment should properly reflect that. It's also the reason why lawyers don't like scientists to sit on juries. They're not fans of rational thinkers. They need emotional responders.
    I think it's just the opposite. I think the lawyers had to make a pretty sophisticated case that the plaintiff should be awarded a substantial sum above and beyond her actual injuries in order to get the company's attention and to spur them to make a common sense change that they would not otherwise make. McDonalds had made the decision that it was better for their bottom line to seriously burn 70 of its customers per year than it was to lower its coffee temperature a few degrees.

    As a libertarian I would expect you to support these kinds of decisions, because the alternative is government regulation.

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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    I think it's a bit subjective, but I don't think it necessarily makes sense to look at it from a probability standpoint. You've got 700 people who didn't have to be seriously injured; all the company had to do was turn down the temperature of its coffee makers. Let's take another example: say that Acme Co. learns that 10 out of 1 million jars of spaghetti sauce have been dosed with anthrax, but there's no way for them to know which ones. Is it unreasonable to expect them to recall the jars?
    If they are at fault for the arsenic being there, which wouldn't really reflect a .001% contamination rate. I would suspect they would recall them given that death isn't good for repeat business. Less you're the tobacco industry, in which case you just have to addict more people than are dying.

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    I think it's just the opposite. I think the lawyers had to make a pretty sophisticated case that the plaintiff should be awarded a substantial sum above and beyond her actual injuries in order to get the company's attention and to spur them to make a common sense change that they would not otherwise make. McDonalds had made the decision that it was better for their bottom line to seriously burn 70 of its customers per year than it was to lower its coffee temperature a few degrees.

    As a libertarian I would expect you to support these kinds of decisions, because the alternative is government regulation.
    There was nothing "sophisticated" about it; it's the exact opposite. It's simplistic. 700 cries the man, 700 burned and for what! McDonald's says those 700=0, well does 700=0 to you? Do we allow this corporation to get away with trivializing 700 people!

    Not so sophisticated in my book. Your last statement is also incorrect, as while there are many pressures to be put on business by consumer and most proper "regulation" is handled in this way; it only works if it is rational. If it's irrational, you've defeated the purpose. The size of the award in the McDonald's case was irrational.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
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    Re: Burglar's family awarded $300,000 in wrongful death suit

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    If they are at fault for the arsenic being there, which wouldn't really reflect a .001% contamination rate. I would suspect they would recall them given that death isn't good for repeat business. Less you're the tobacco industry, in which case you just have to addict more people than are dying.



    There was nothing "sophisticated" about it; it's the exact opposite. It's simplistic. 700 cries the man, 700 burned and for what! McDonald's says those 700=0, well does 700=0 to you? Do we allow this corporation to get away with trivializing 700 people!

    Not so sophisticated in my book. Your last statement is also incorrect, as while there are many pressures to be put on business by consumer and most proper "regulation" is handled in this way; it only works if it is rational. If it's irrational, you've defeated the purpose. The size of the award in the McDonald's case was irrational.
    Well, again, I don't think it's irrational to expect a company to make a minor modification to save 70 of its customers per year from suffering third degree burns.

    It's funny how in this thread you are running down a jury as a collection of gulluble sops, while simultaneously arguing in another thread that a jury that ignored the law was a fundamental building block of our society.

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