Tag Archives: New Mexico

Liebeck v. McDonalds Revisited

Posted by Paul Kikta.


The lawsuit that I decided to evaluate was Liebeck vs. McDonalds. Liebeck vs. McDonalds is a 1994 product liability lawsuit about the hot coffee McDonalds sold. On February 27, 1992, Stella Liebeck, a 79-year old woman from Albuquerque, New Mexico accidently spilled coffee on herself. This coffee was dangerously hot to the point where it caused her third degree burns through her clothes in seconds. She endured burns that covered six percent of her body. Because of this, she recovered for two years after being hospitalized for eight days.

This arrived to higher-level court through a lack of a compromise. At first, Mrs. Liebeck wanted $20,000 to settle the case, but McDonalds refused and countered with $800. That money is not enough for Mrs. Liebeck because it does not cover her medical expenses. When it went to court, the jurors saw her third degree burns, facts that McDonalds served their coffee 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the industry average, and other testimonies that McDonalds’ coffee have burned hundreds of adults and children. Liebeck’s lawyer, Kenneth Wagner, claimed McDonalds’ coffee way too hot in comparison to other competitors. The average temperature of coffee served is between 135 and 140; however, McDonalds was at 190, which means that burns happen at a significantly faster rate. The plaintiff also learned that “McDonalds had faced over 700 claims by people who had suffered burns from the coffee from 1982-1992. Some of these claims involved full-thickness burns similar to those suffered by Ms. Liebeck” (Welman). After admitting a claim such as that, it looked very good for Mrs. Liebeck to achieve victory.

In her case victory, the jury granted 2.7 million dollars for spilling coffee on herself. After the case ended, many authors published articles about her victory, agreeing or disagreeing with its result. To me, it does not seem fair that she won that much money unless her hospitalization bills and recovery costed that much. She just became a millionaire because of an action that she could have avoided if she paid attention. I think that the lawsuit also took into account for the hundreds of other cases with coffee burns- the lawsuit punished McDonalds to lower their coffee temperate and Mrs. Liebeck was the fortunate one on the other end. Due to many political and public statements on the case, “Ms. Liebeck … entered into a settlement with McDonalds … which the parties agreed would remain secret, has never been revealed to the public despite the fact that the case received extensive public reporting” (Welman). The result of a very controversial case that the public pressured showed that it helps to create more fairs results of the case. Everyone agreed that Liebeck should win but not to the extend she got.

Paul is an economics/ mathematical finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.




Kentucky’s AG Sues Volkswagen for Emissions-Rigging Scheme

Posted by Alexa Christie.

In Frankfort, Kentucky, Attorney General Andy Beshear sues Volkswagen claiming the automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scheme violated the state’s consumer protection law. There were 3,800 vehicles registered in Kentucky with this defect. The lawsuit was filed in a state court. “”We have a very strong law that is meant to prevent companies like this … from making an outright lie that they then use to sell what’s a pretty expensive product,” Beshear said at a state Capitol news conference.” Beshear thinks that Volkswagen should be held accountable for this scheme of false advertisement. Last year, 600,000 cars were sold in the United States with software that was designed to cheat on required emissions tests.

Volkswagen was trying to advertise that their customers, who wanted a “green” car were getting one, when in fact they were not. A Volkswagen spokeswomen announced that the company, Volkswagen, was working with federal environmental regulators to resolve this problem. Texas, New Mexico, New Jersey, and West Virginia were also filing separate lawsuits against Volkswagen. The company has received more than $20 billion in fines from state and federal regulators. In September, Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software installed in their “clean diesel” engines.

Alexa is a business administration major with a concentration in management at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University, Class of 2018.

New Mexico Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Posted by Daphine Llosa.

A recent legal issue involves money laundering, embezzlement and fraud. Money laundering is a form of obtaining money illegally, usually by using transfers between banks and businesses. Embezzlement is theft or misappropriation of funds. Fraud is a wrongful deception for the purpose of attaining financial or personal gain.  On Friday, October 23, 2015 the New Mexico Republican Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, plead guilty of fraud. The state attorney general, Democrat Hector Balderas, filed 65 charges against Ms. Duran in August 2015 which included; fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and campaign finance violations. Investigations revealed that she used about $13,000 of the donations from her campaign to clear gambling debt around the state and to cover other personal matters. In order to hide the transfers to personal accounts, Ms. Duran altered the campaign finance reports. Ms. Duran had a hearing with her defense lawyer, Erlinda Johnson, and after refusing multiple times from leaving office she resigned. According to the New York Times, in hopes that she can receive five years of probation and get spared prison time, Ms. Duran pled guilty to six out of the sixty-five charges; four misdemeanors and two felonies. She stated that for her best interests, her loved ones and for all of New Mexico’s residents; she will be seeking for professional help due to her non-ethical and corrupt actions.

It had been a little over 80 years since New Mexico had a Republican serve as secretary of state. She ranked as the second highest elected official in New Mexico, where she served as state senator prior to becoming the 24th Secretary of State. Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico, received the resignation letter provided by Ms. Duran, which stated; ‘Although I may be leaving office, I shall always reflect upon the last 36 years of service, honored to work with you and other, serving the citizen of New Mexico.’ As of today, deputy secretary of state, Mary Quintana is fulfilling Ms. Duran’s place until the governor chooses who will be replacing her until the upcoming election in 2016. Any further and additional details or information regarding Ms. Duran’s replacement or charges will be released in the coming weeks. The degree of punishment and the formal legal consequences applied to Ms. Duran is scheduled to be on December 14, 2015.

Daphne is a graduate student in accounting with a Certification in Forensic Accounting, at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University, Class of 2016.