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Judge Cuts Award in Scalding-Coffee Suit to $640,000

From Associated Press

A $2.9-million verdict won by a woman who was scalded when she tried to pry the lid off a cup of McDonald’s coffee was cut by a judge Wednesday to $640,000.

State District Judge Robert Scott ruled that the $2.7 million in punitive damages awarded to 81-year-old Stella Liebeck was excessive, and he reduced the amount to $480,000. He let stand $160,000 in compensatory damages awarded.

The judge said he arrived at $480,000 figure for punitive damages by tripling the $160,000 compensatory award.

Last month, a jury ruled against McDonald’s Corp. and in favor of Liebeck, who suffered third-degree burns on her legs, groin and buttocks in 1992 when she spilled coffee on her lap.

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