Liebeck v. McDonald’s
The crème de la crème! In 1994, Stella Liebeck ordered a 49-cent cup of coffee from McDonald’s, placed it between her knees, and—in the process of adding cream and sugar—spilled the coffee over her body when the lid came off, resulting in third-degree burns.
Damages sought: $20,000, then $2.9 million
What happened: Liebeck would have accepted the coverage of her $20,000 medical bill, but Micky D's countered with an $800 offer. Reeling from that slap in the face, her lawyers hit back like a ton of bricks and a jury awarded her $2.9 million. Unfortunately, the buzzkill judge only let her keep $640,000.