Friday, October 05, 2007

Jury's back

In the case of the McDonalds strip search, the jury returned a $1 million verdict for the plaintiff and $5 million in punitive damages. I know nothing about Kentucky law, but the news stories seem to indicate that the case was tried as on of negligence with 50% of the liability attributed to McDonalds, and 50% to the fellow who called McDonalds to pull the "hoax". I assume thatBig Mc will get a credit for the 50% of the liability that does not go to them, probably on the actual damages. If so, and the punitive award stays undisturbed, the victim here will get $5.5 million, which is probably more than she was going to make for awhile by working behind the counter there in Kentucky. A brief survey of Kentuckians (those who e-mailed into the papers reporting on the case) show that most writers were upset with the verdict. However, one person, describing his or her self as a "Psychology Professor" opined that 60% of people asked to submit to the three and a half hour strip search would have. I'm sure that the data for that statement came from those old authoritarian studies done after World War II which showed how college kids would electrocute their fellow students in class experiments, if ordered to by the teacher.

At any rate, this is the biggest suit lost by Ronald Mc since the famous "the coffee was too hot" case some years ago. That case was a major contributor to United States tort reform, or as it is now known , tort obliteration. The five million dollars in punitives equals about 50% of the daily profit of the company.

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