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In My Personal Injury Lawsuit, Could I Get A Jury Award Like That McDonald’s Coffee Case?

In My Personal Injury Lawsuit, Could I Get A Jury Award Like That McDonald’s Coffee Case?

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“We’re talking about general damages now, pain and suffering. I’m going to use that McDonald’s personal injury claim for spilling the coffee on the person’s lap, for example here. I know that once the award was appealed it was lowered, but why would a jury award so much money for spilt coffee?”

Spencer Freeman – Personal Injury Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“The easy reaction to that is ‘everybody knows coffee is hot’. I mean, like you spill it on yourself. But the issue, I think, in that McDonald’s case, is exactly how hot that coffee was, and the understanding that it actually caused severe burns that required skin grafts, in order to heal those burns and heal the patient. And it left scarring. So, the jury saw that, and saw that this was going to be a lifelong damage and lifelong process. Yeah, the damage (award) was reduced by an appellate court, but not that much.

A jury made a determination that, while coffee is hot, it should never be that hot, and should never cause that type of damage to a person. So, you’ve got to really focus in on some details about the case before you pass your own judgment on what a jury did with the case.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“You see, those are the details that most people don’t realize. All they hear about is…somebody spilt some coffee, I mean, McDonald’s spilt some coffee on a person’s lap in the drive-thru window, and they got an incredible amount of money. That’s what’s rattling around in their head.”

Spencer Freeman – Personal Injury Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Yeah, but what the jury saw is pictures of the damaged skin in the groin area of this person. The number of surgeries that it took to get this person back to a pain-free living, if that was even achieved. It was significant. It’s not just as simple to say…’it’s spilled coffee’. I mean, there were some significant injuries.”


Freeman Law Firm, Inc. is one of the most reputable and reliable attorney enterprises with two locations in Tacoma and Olympia, WA. When an injury happens, one is often so overcome with shock and pain that thinking about the legal course and taking the next steps may feel like an overwhelming task. This is where our team of experts comes in. We’re here to safely guide you through the seemingly puzzling maze of who’s, what’s, where’s and when’s of the legal recourse. Our skilled lawyers, each of whom is equipped with top qualifications and years of experience in the field, will represent your case and stand by your side for what is right.

Life is all about the unexpected – and the unexpected can come as pleasant surprises or non-so- pleasant accidents. We’re here to help you out when life takes a turn for the worst, to get you back on your feet again.

After practicing with a downtown Seattle firm, Spencer Freeman opened the Freeman Law Firm, Inc. in Tacoma, WA in 2005 after the birth of his first son. Over the course of time, the Freeman Law Firm, Inc. has adhered to the needs of its community, both locally and with contacts nationally. These needs have included litigation in several different areas, including Business Litigation, Copyright Infringement Litigation, Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice, First Party Bad Faith Litigation, Criminal Law, as well as Administrative Law. Mr. Freeman’s intent was and is to make those skills he has learned in his career and his passion for trials accessible.

Mr. Freeman’s connections locally and nationally nourished his practice over time. He has served the local community as well as handling cases in federal courts across the country. Locally, Mr. Freeman has assisted local businesses in such matters as contentious shareholder disputes and individuals in matters ranging from catastrophic injuries to class A felonies as well as lawsuits against insurance companies for bad faith claims practices. He tried a Whatcom County Superior Court case for a bail bond company that resulted in the first appellate law in Washington truly outlining the rights of fugitive recovery agents. He has tried cases in many counties throughout the State of Washington, argued before the Court of Appeals Division I and Division II and the Washington State Supreme Court.

Mr. Freeman’s practice has taken him beyond Washington State, where he has handled cases for national Internet multi-media companies enforcing copyrights in states such as Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and California. In those cases, he has successfully argued for jurisdiction in the United States against individuals that reside in other countries. Mr. Freeman also represented a publisher against sheriffs regarding First Amendment Rights to distribute a magazine in county jails, resulting in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the first case law of its kind. He has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals five times and submitted a briefing to the United States Supreme Court.

On more than several occasions, Mr. Freeman has been retained by parties on the near eve of a trial solely for purpose of being lead trial counsel. One such successful case was against the U.S. Department of Justice in their first trial attempting to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act for the actions of independent contractors.

Mr. Freeman’s passion and strength lay in front of a jury. He finds a beautiful balance between fact witnesses, statutes, case law, rules of evidence, and the different contexts of each jury. Most cases find a resolution before trial, but the best resolution occurs when counsel is prepared to try the case. And, when a case cannot find resolution, Mr. Freeman loves to go to work.

Contact Attorney:

Phone: 253-383-4500
Freeman Law Firm, Inc. is one of the most reputable and reliable attorney enterprises with two locations in Tacoma and Olympia, WA.

Industry Skills:

  • Litigation
  • Courts
  • Trials
  • Civil Litigation
  • Appeals
  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Research
  • Litigation Management
  • Depositions
  • Criminal Defense
  • Hearings
  • Negotiation
  • Legal Writing
  • Copyright Law
  • Licensing
  • Arbitration
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Legal Assistance


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