The Utah Supreme Court held that referring to the McDonald’s Hot Coffee case in closing arguments warrants reversal.
I just recently wrote about the McDonald’s Hot Coffee case and a Sundance movie “Hot Coffee”. The movie documents the incorrect public perception of the McDonald’s Hot Coffee case, actually entitled Liebeck v. McDonald’s Rests., P.T.S., Inc, No. CV-93-02419, 1995 WL 360309 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Aug. 18, 1994).
Well today, the Utah Supreme Court held that a jury verdict warranted reversal due to counsel’s reference to the highly inflammatory McDonald’s Hot Coffee case in closing arguments. The Utah Supreme Court recognized, in Boyle v. Christensen (No. 20090822, April 15, 2011), that “the case has come to symbolize greedy plaintiffs and lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits and win hugely excessive sums in a broken legal system.” Plaintiffs lawyers throughout the country will likely be pleased that a court has formally recognized that: 1) the McDonald’s Hot Coffee case is misunderstood and inflammatory; and 2) mentioning the case in closing arguments is reversible error.