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Forum - Politic Forum For The Sane    Insane People Won...4 more Years of Insanity

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From: gonabe (Rep: 3) reply to 80_20ruleDate: 09/26/2004 15:49
Forum: Politic Forum For The Sane - Msg #165Thread #162 (Rec: 0)
Re: How did we get here?...

My opinion is,,
the question of "how did we get here" is quite Ironic.

The Irony is that,,we see what in our opinion ar WRONGS.
Increasingly,,the Irony is that our OPINIONS are the wrongs.

Few who Read YOUR opinion--which is admireably and well presented would disagree with it .
One great Strength of it is,,it's Clear,Concise,and to the point.
A Nice Packaged thought,and hard to argue with at Face value.

Few who read THIS,will actually even READ it thoroughly.
Fewer,,will stop and THINK and put forth the effort to form their Own Opinion
And a few,,,will not understand or beleive it anyway.

Facts,Reality,Truth is often very unclear,seldom apparent and nicely packaged.
STORIES,,Fables,Myths,Legends are CRAFTED ,,DELIBERATE in their construction to convey Specific Ideas,,evoke specific emotions,,,and also to Endure.
They're "Naturally Appealing" to our consciousness and awareness.
Purposefully,,a Handy,Nice Package.

TRUTH is hard to accept a lotta times,,,
while Everybody loves a good story--fact or Fiction.

ONE trail we've travelled to get here,,,is that we are all entitled to our own opinions,,and entitled to voice those opinions.

It's both a Priveledge and a Right.
Which is all a very fine thing.

However,,if there's anything problematic about that,perhaps it may be that there's NO Prerequisite that our opinions are Valid,or even based on any fact whatsoever.

That in itself is not so bad.
The RESULTS of our thinkings are where things begin to break down.

Generally speaking--people ACT UPON their opinions.
We tend to Live by what we Beleive.
We base our Judgements and Decisions and Actions on our opinions.

When Beleifs and Opinions are groundless,or based on NON-Factual information,,,,
the outcome,the results of any actions we take are not going to necessarily be what we expect.

Perhaps WORST of all,is the THINKING-HABITS which develop.

Rational,Deliberative Reasoning falls by the wayside.
It's NOT so much a matter of us having Bad Ideas,or Being WRONG.
We're ALL subject to that... sometimes even our Best Efforts.

The point is ,,we quit TRYING to develop RationalThinking.
It loses it's importance,,and eventually the Skill is Lost.

When we become CONJECTURE and Myth and Hearsay-Based in our Beleifs,,,and fail to demand Facts & Full Disclosure,,

That leaves us wide-OPEN to Manipulation,,,veritable Sponges for Propaganda.

We begin to accept what is Attractive and Appealing,,and we no longer bother to put information to any higher test of Proofs.

We begin to operate in a Fantasy-World,,,and increasingly find our "Best Efforts" leading us down a Wonderful Path,,but ultimately to a dead-end.

'Cuz our Thoughts,or beleifs,,our Motives and actions are not based on Truth or Reality.
But simply on what was PRESENTED to us ,,APPEALED to us,,and we chose to ACCEPT.
FALSE beleifs can hardly be expected to yield REAL results.

Or I should say,,not the Results the BELEIVER expects,,but very possibly the Results expected by the PROMOTER.

All just my opinion,,,and I sincerely don't mean any of that harshly or to insult or offend Anyone.
Just MY Opinion,,and my appoligies if it comes across rude in any way.

It's all something I remind myself of--maybe not often enough...
To THINK about,,what I Think.
And to TRY to have opinions which are (Ideally) SUPPORTABLE,,,,
or at Least DEFENDABLE---meaning to strive to know WHY I think what I think.
Versus simply repeating what I see/hear,am told.

Many folks cannot be bothered with that,and a LARGE part of "what got us here" is their Opinions which they Hold so dear & demand the liberty to voice,,,are simply BOGUS Opinions.
Opinions Based on nothing much real.
Let's find out if a "BURNT BOX" is as "cute" & frivolous a complaint as that term implies.

Here's a description from a Disinterested "3rd Party".
The info presented can be Cross-Refferenced/Corroborated via a large number of readily available MEDICAL CARE resources.

Fire-Related Injuries
About Burns
Types of Burns
Burns are classified by degree:

First degree--Involving only the epithelium (top layer of skin).

Second degree--Involving the epithelium and some of the dermal layer, a second degree burn is deeper than the first. A deep second degree burn extends through the dermis and affects some of the soft tissues below the skin.

Third degree--Extending through the skin and nerves and including vascular tissue.

Fourth degree--Generally including bones. With a burn of this degree there is a poor prognosis for the body part involved.
Fourth degree burns that include a section of a limb can lead to a life-threatening condition, called compartment syndrome, that threatens the viability of the limb. In this case, surgeons may have to perform a fasciotomy or an escharotomy (eschar is another name for dead tissue) to relieve the pressure in the wound area. Untreated, this could lead to amputation or gas gangrene and death. An immunological and inflammatory response called the complement cascade is triggered. The cascade also causes increased fibrinolysis (tissue damage) and blood clots can form. A person at this stage may be very prone to develop deep vein thromboses and pulmonary emboli

How Burns Affect the Body________________

Burns totally destroy homeostasis, or the body's ability to regulate its processes. The worst pain from a burn comes with second degree burns because the nerve endings are left exposed, and this results in throbbing, intense pain. Third degree burns are worse but actually hurt less, since protective sensation has been interrupted by the burn. Patients with severe burns undergo daily debridement (removal of dead tissue and cleansing) and wound care, which also causes extreme pain.

The three major problems confronting burn patients are:

High risk of infection (skin is the body's barrier against infection),
Fluid loss
Body heat regulation
Burns cause a massive immune system response to the trauma. The loss of skin also means that the patient's metabolism skyrockets as the body tries to stay warm. This takes tremendous energy and calories--energy gets generated, but calories and fluids are used beyond a person's ability to take them in.

A burn of a little as 6 percent of the total body surface area is enough to be fatal to both children under 6 and older adults.

A person with a larger percentage body burn (referred to by their total body surface area) or severe, combined thermal and inhalation injury often do not retain conscious memory of this early phase.

Burns that will heal by primary intention (without surgery) generally do so within two to three weeks. The longer the wound takes to heal, the more scarring may develop afterward during the collagen formation, remodeling and remolding phase of healing. Also, some cultural/racial groups scar worse than others (genetics is thought to be the culprit). People of African, Celtic and Mediterranean descent scar worse than other groups. They develop more hypertrophic (raised) scarring and keloid scarring. This group may or may not be helped by cosmetic surgery following/during late phases of recovery.

Scar Healing and Recovery__________
Scars are initially sensitive to touch. The secondary gain of wearing a garment is that it protects the graft site from trauma. People cannot return to contact sports for a minimum of three years after graft surgery. Silicone or foam is used around areas that can develop web scarring (between digits) or areas that were deep and may have healed after a long time. Hypertrophic scarring may need some special attention to mold it and prevent collagen abnormalities from forming during healing. Scar tissue is also frequently itchy. The more upset or overheated one gets, the itchier they become. At this stage meds used to treat neuropathic pain may be introduced.

Scars remain hot and raised for 2-3 years following a burn. The person must keep up with exercise and scar management guidelines during this time. People can lose parts of or entire digits or limbs if they have complications from the burn.

Now,,for a bit of a Different Perspective than the Urban Legends inspired by News Media COMMENTARIES.
(*Also,,for anyone who isn't aware of this,,ACTUAL Court Transcripts are PUBLIC INFORMATION.
They are available to Anyone in the World for a minimal "Document Fee" and postage.
They are available Directly from The County's Municipal Records Dept,,,OR from any number of Commercial Services which provide Search,Compilation,Forwarding services,etc.
POINT>Court Cases are a matter of Legal Record,and EASILY verified,,,,much moreso than Urban Legends)

So let's look & see for OURSELVES if this Frivolous Lawsuit had any genuine cause of action,,or merits...

"Even more eye-opening was the revelation that McDonald's had seen such injuries many times before.Company documents showed that in the past decade McDonald's had received at least 700 reports of coffee burns ranging from mild to 3rd degree."

( We DID understand from the previous portion of this post,,that 3rd Degree burns are literally "Cooked TO the bone" Skin,Flesh,Muscle/Tendon/Ligament tissue,,and the blood vessels needed to keep that body part alive??
And requires Surgical removal?
Surgeries,,on an On-Going Basis,in many cases?)


McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit

McDonald's Callousness Was Real Issue, Jurors Say, In Case of Burned Woman

How Hot Do You Like It?

by Andrea Gerlin
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
September 1, 1994
The Wall Street Journal
(© 1994, Dow Jones & Co., Inc.)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - When a law firm here found itself defending McDonald's Corp. in a suit last year that claimed the company served dangerously hot coffee, it hired a law student to take temperatures at other local restaurants for comparison.

After dutifully slipping a thermometer into steaming cups and mugs all over the city, Danny Jarrett found that none came closer than about 20 degrees to the temperature at which McDonald's coffee is poured, about 180 degrees.

It should have been a warning.

But McDonald's lawyers went on to dismiss several opportunities to settle out of court, apparently convinced that no jury would punish a company for serving coffee the way customers like it. After all, its coffee's temperature helps explain why McDonald's sells a billion cups a year.

But now - days after a jury here awarded $2.9 million to an 81-year-old woman scalded by McDonald's coffee - some observers say the defense was naïve. "I drink McDonald's coffee because it's hot, the hottest coffee around," says Robert Gregg, a Dallas defense attorney who consumes it during morning drives to the office. "But I've predicted for years that someone's going to win a suit, because I've spilled it on myself. And unlike the coffee I make at home, it's really hot. I mean, man, it hurts."

McDonald's, known for its fastidious control over franchisees, requires that its coffee be prepared at very high temperatures, based on recommendations of coffee consultants and industry groups that say hot temperatures are necessary to fully extract the flavor during brewing.

Before trial, McDonald's gave the opposing lawyer its operations and training manual, which says its coffee must be brewed at 195 to 205 degrees and held at 180 to 190 degrees for optimal taste. Since the verdict, McDonald's has declined to offer any comment, as have their attorneys. It is unclear if the company, whose coffee cups warn drinkers that the contents are hot, plans to change its preparation procedures.

Coffee temperature is suddenly a hot topic in the industry. The Specialty Coffee Association of America has put coffee safety on the agenda of its quarterly board meeting this month. And a spokesman for Dunkin' Donuts Inc., which sells about 500 million cups of coffee a year, says the company is looking at the verdict to see if it needs to make any changes to the way it makes coffee.

Others call it a tempest in a coffeepot. A spokesman for the National Coffee Association says McDonald's coffee conforms to industry temperature standards. And a spokesman for Mr. Coffee Inc., the coffee-machine maker, says that if customer complaints are any indication, industry settings may be too low - some customers like it hotter. A spokeswoman for Starbucks Coffee Co. adds, "Coffee is traditionally a hot beverage and is served hot and I would hope that this is an isolated incident."

Coffee connoisseur William McAlpin, an importer and wholesaler in Bar Harbor, Maine, who owns a coffee plantation in Costa Rica, says 175 degrees is "probably the optimum temperature, because that's when aromatics are being released. Once the aromas get in your palate, that is a large part of what makes the coffee a pleasure to drink."

Public opinion is squarely on the side of McDonald's. Polls have shown a large majority of Americans - including many who typically support the little guy - to be outraged at the verdict. And radio talk-show hosts around the country have lambasted the plaintiff, her attorneys and the jurors on air. Declining to be interviewed for this story, one juror explained that he already had received angry calls from citizens around the country.

It's a reaction that many of the jurors could have understood - before they heard the evidence. At the beginning of the trial, jury foreman Jerry Goens says he "wasn't convinced as to why I needed to be there to settle a coffee spill."

At that point, Mr. Goens and the other jurors knew only the basic facts: that two years earlier, Stella Liebeck had bought a 49-cent cup of coffee at the drive-in window of an Albuquerque McDonald's, and while removing the lid to add cream and sugar had spilled it, causing third-degree burns of the groin, inner thighs and buttocks. Her suit, filed in state court in Albuquerque, claimed the coffee was "defective" because it was so hot.

What the jury didn't realize initially was the severity of her burns. Told during the trial of Mrs. Liebeck's seven days in the hospital and her skin grafts, and shown gruesome photographs, jurors began taking the matter more seriously. "It made me come home and tell my wife and daughters don't drink coffee in the car, at least not hot," says juror Jack Elliott.

Even more eye-opening was the revelation that McDonald's had seen such injuries many times before. Company documents showed that in the past decade McDonald's had received at least 700 reports of coffee burns ranging from mild to third degree, and had settled claims arising from scalding injuries for more than $500,000.

Some observers wonder why McDonald's, after years of settling coffee-burn cases, chose to take this one to trial. After all, the plaintiff was a sympathetic figure - an articulate, 81-year-old former department store clerk who said under oath that she had never filed suit before. In fact, she said, she never would have filed this one if McDonald's hadn't dismissed her requests for compensation for pain and medical bills with an offer of $800.

Then there was the matter of Mrs. Liebeck's attorney. While recuperating from her injuries in the Santa Fe home of her daughter, Mrs. Liebeck happened to meet a pair of Texas transplants familiar with a Houston attorney who had handled a 1986 hot-coffee lawsuit against McDonald's. His name was Reed Morgan, and ever since he had deeply believed that McDonald's coffee is too hot.

For that case, involving a Houston woman with third-degree burns, Mr. Morgan had the temperature of coffee taken at 18 restaurants such as Dairy Queen, Wendy's and Dunkin' Donuts, and at 20 McDonald's restaurants. McDonald's, his investigator found, accounted for nine of the 12 hottest readings. Also for that case, Mr. Morgan deposed Christopher Appleton, a McDonald's quality assurance manager, who said "he was aware of this risk…and had no plans to turn down the heat," according to Mr. Morgan. McDonald's settled that case for $27,500.

Now, plotting Mrs. Liebeck's case, Mr. Morgan planned to introduce photographs of his previous client's injuries and those of a California woman who suffered second- and third-degree burns after a McDonald's employee spilled hot coffee into her vehicle in 1990, a case that was settled out of court for $230,000.

Tracy McGee of Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, the lawyers for McDonald's, strenuously objected. "First-person accounts by sundry women whose nether regions have been scorched by McDonald's coffee might well be worthy of Oprah," she wrote in a motion to state court Judge Robert Scott. "But they have no place in a court of law." Judge Scott did not allow the photographs nor the women's testimony into evidence, but said Mr. Morgan could mention the cases.

As the trial date approached, McDonald's declined to settle. At one point, Mr. Morgan says he offered to drop the case for $300,000, and was willing to accept half that amount.

But McDonald's didn't bite.

Only days before the trial, Judge Scott ordered both sides to attend a mediation session. The mediator, a retired judge, recommended that McDonald's settle for $225,000, saying a jury would be likely to award that amount. The company didn't follow his recommendation.

Instead, McDonald's continued denying any liability for Mrs. Liebeck's burns. The company suggested that she may have contributed to her injuries by holding the cup between her legs and not removing her clothing immediately. And it also argued that "Mrs. Liebeck's age may have caused her injuries to have been worse than they might have been in a younger individual," since older skin is thinner and more vulnerable to injury.

The trial lasted seven sometimes mind-numbing days. Experts dueled over the temperature at which coffee causes burns. A scientist testifying for McDonald's argued that any coffee hotter than 130 degrees could produce third-degree burns, so it didn't matter whether Mc Donald's coffee was hotter. But a doctor testifying on behalf of Mrs. Liebeck argued that lowering the serving temperature to about 160 degrees could make a big difference, because it takes less than three seconds to produce a third-degree burn at 190 degrees, about 12 to 15 seconds at 180 degrees and about 20 seconds at 160 degrees.

The testimony of Mr. Appleton, the McDonald's executive, didn't help the company, jurors said later. He testified that McDonald's knew its coffee sometimes caused serious burns, but hadn't consulted burn experts about it. He also testified that McDonald's had decided not to warn customers about the possibility of severe burns, even though most people wouldn't think it possible. Finally, he testified that McDonald's didn't intend to change any of its coffee policies or procedures, saying, "There are more serious dangers in restaurants."

Mr. Elliott, the juror, says he began to realize that the case was about "callous disregard for the safety of the people."

Next for the defense came P. Robert Knaff, a human-factors engineer who earned $15,000 in fees from the case and who, several jurors said later, didn't help McDonald's either. Dr. Knaff told the jury that hot-coffee burns were statistically insignificant when compared to the billion cups of coffee McDonald's sells annually.

To jurors, Dr. Knaff seemed to be saying that the graphic photos they had seen of Mrs. Liebeck's burns didn't matter because they were rare. "There was a person behind every number and I don't think the corporation was attaching enough importance to that," says juror Betty Farnham.

When the panel reached the jury room, it swiftly arrived at the conclusion that McDonald's was liable. "The facts were so overwhelmingly against the company," says Ms. Farnham. "They were not taking care of their consumers."

Then the six men and six women decided on compensatory damages of $200,000, which they reduced to $160,000 after determining that 20% of the fault belonged with Mrs. Liebeck for spilling the coffee.

The jury then found that McDonald's had engaged in willful, reckless, malicious or wanton conduct, the basis for punitive damages. Mr. Morgan had suggested penalizing McDonald's the equivalent of one to two days of companywide coffee sales, which he estimated at $1.35 million a day. During the four-hour deliberation, a few jurors unsuccessfully argued for as much as $9.6 million in punitive damages. But in the end, the jury settled on $2.7 million.

McDonald's has since asked the judge for a new trial. Judge Scott has asked both sides to meet with a mediator to discuss settling the case before he rules on McDonald's request. The judge also has the authority to disregard the jury's finding or decrease the amount of damages.

One day after the verdict, a local reporter tested the coffee at the McDonald's that had served Mrs. Liebeck and found it to be a comparatively cool 158 degrees. But industry officials say they doubt that this signals any companywide change. After all, in a series of focus groups last year, customers who buy McDonald's coffee at least weekly say that "morning coffee has minimal taste requirements, but must be hot," to the point of steaming.


POSTSCRIPT - Following the trial of Ms. Liebeck's case, the judge who presided over it reduced the punitive damages award to $480,000, even though the judge called McDonald's conduct reckless, callous and willful. This reduction is a corrective feature built into our legal system. Furthermore, after that, both parties agreed to a settlement of the claim for a sum reported to be much less than the judge's reduced award. Another corrective feature.

ADDITIONAL NOTE - Prior to the Liebeck case, the prestigious Shriner's Burn Institute in Cincinnati had published warnings to the franchise food industry that its members were unnecessarily causing serious scald burns by serving beverages above 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

OUR COMMENT - Any common consumer product which can cause third-degree burns (the worst kind) in two to seven seconds is seriously dangerous. Who could have imagined this risk from a cup of coffee? But, McDonald's had ample evidence of it.

These hyper-heated beverages should be eliminated from the marketplace. The Liebeck jury can be commended for its courage in sending this message to the food service industry. Remember, these horrific burns could have happened to you or your family members and friends.

Here's some various article's on the case....

The Actual Facts About
The Mcdonalds' Coffee Case
McFacts about the McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit

Everyone knows what you're talking about when you mention "the McDonald's lawsuit." Even though this case was decided in August of 1994, for many Americans it continues to represent the "problem" with our civil justice system.

The business community and insurance industry have done much to perpetuate this case. They don't want us to forget it. They know it helps them convince politicians that "tort reform" and other restrictions on juries is needed. And worse, they know it poisons the minds of citizens who sit on juries....(cont.)

A simple yahoo search of keywords,
"hot coffee" + lawsuit
yields >Results 1 - 10 of about 11,700 for "hot coffee" + lawsuit

NOW,,here's a slideshow presentation from University of Delaware titled "Psychology and The Law--Are We Over-Lawyered?"
Slide 4 has an enlightening quote from a Representative Ron Packard of California

When one reads such a Statement from our Legislators/Representatives AFTER learning of the Actual,Official FACTS....

THEN one begins to form some basis for a more Valid opinion on "What's Wrong"

Laws--are no better than those who Make them.
Laws,,are no more effective that those whom they govern.

Justice,,is no more JUST than the underlying Opinions of Right and Wrong.

"Our Opinion" is too often viewed casually as simply an Entitlement.

Our World is SHAPED by Our Opinions.

IMO,,,Opinions bear a burden of RESPONSIBILITY to make a best-effort of Validity.
Imo,,they should be Supportable,or at least Defendable on subjective matters.

Cuz when we ask ourselves,,"How did we get here?" pretty much began as simply as a matter of Opinion.

If we aren't satisfied with where we're at..
Change starts with What we THINK about it all.

THINKING is a LOT more critical in forming valid opions than is commonly touted.
Often enough,, upon Closer examination,,we find that the Opinions we think we Hold,,,are nothing more than what we've been Handed.
And not anything we've Strived to get a grip upon.

Just something that we repeat.

The matter of "The Justice System",,,that's all a 10X rant compared to this.
An entire other subject.

And the story starts MUCH,MUCH further back than most people ever realize.
Not surprising is that "1st Chapter" covers when People quit thinking for theirselves.

Anyway,,,to limit comment to what relative to Civil Suit matters,,Tort Law,etc.....

Everyone should be aware that Judges,Juries,Lawyers,"Sewers"--Plaintiffs in Lawsuits--
NONE of those people prescribe what Damages or Judgements CAN be awards.

Those people that WE-THE-PEOPLE Chose,
to ACT on OUR Behalf under the principle or Representation "OF the People,BY the People,FOR the People"

A Law is Enacted which establishes "PRICE TAGS" of Specific ranges regarding lawsuit awards.

Damage somebody's car="X" Amount stipulated by LAW
Injure someone,,or even unitentionally KILL them="X" amount under the LAW.

Seems Cold,sure,but there Exists a VALUE,,a PRICE TAG,,on the head of your spouse,kids,family,life,health,,,and of course all your Stuff.

If LEGAL LIMIT is $1,000 in a specific matter,,,,
A Judge,Court,Jury,,,,ANYONE,,,would be Themselves In VIOLATION of LAW to award $1,000.10

And it Would NOT stand scrutiny in any superior court.

Legal Precedents CAN be Set,,,the proverbial "LndMark cases" that Change established Limits.

A CASE,,,can be of such an unusual or extreme a nature that it CANNOT Be JUSTLY remedied within stanard,established parameters.

The McDonald's Coffee Case was one such case.

There were circumstances which strongly indicated CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS,,,,Willful,DELIBERATE Injury.

'Cuz of the Differences in Criminal Law and Civil Law,,
SUCCESSFULLY Prosecuting a Criminal Case would have been nearly Impossible.

The Result,,,could have Absolved The Corporation of All Liability ,,almost by Default.

And a DELIBERATE ,Harmful Behavior that had gone on for quite a long time,,and was quite widespread would have Likely Continued.
And that behavior would have been very possibly left IMMUNE from further prosecutions.

It at LEAST would have been HUGELY more Difficult to prosecute any future cases.

A failed Criminal Case would NOT have "authorized" the dangerous conditions and cruel pranks,,,
But it would have set a Legal Precedent that such occurrences are Not Readily & Clearly Prosecutable.
JUSTICE,,would have effectively TURNED it's Blind Eye away from these sort of grievances.

Was SOCIETY left Better or Worse in the wake of THIS "Frivolous Lawsuit"?

FoodService POLICIES..Training,Mangerial Oversight Improved.
Containers,Lids,Cup Carriers Improved.
Warnings and Reminders were Improved.
And a CLEAR Message was sent to those who "Slim Rim" cups of scalding liquids for Fun & Laffs that The JOKE WILL BE ON THEM.

People who deliberately cause injuries should be held accountable.
Even if it gives the impression that The VICTIMS and The Justice System are just Bad Sports,,or trying to get something for nothing.

Can ANYONE possibly Beleive that the issues facing the Tobacco industry are as simple as The Media presents them to be?
Or as GROUNDLESS as UNfounded Opinion gossips them to be?

In REALITY,,,a safer assumption might be that there is indeed some valid issue being tried.
And that it's being done according to LAW,,,not whim,or greed,,stupidity, or sheer opportunism.

All just IMO,fwiw

...Troubled times had come....
...Foreman says these jobs are going boys
and they ain’t coming back to your hometown.....
..take a good look around
this is your hometown.

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