Tuesday, December 09, 2003

The Coffee Wars

If Newsweek's cover story on litigiousness in America accomplishes nothing else, it can at least claim to have rekindled the important debate over the proper temperature at which to serve coffee. Professor Bernstein seems to think that McDonald's got it basically right. The Curmudgeonly Clerk questions whether the sources on which Prof. Bernstein relies would withstand Daubert analysis, and also addresses differences between the home and drive-thru environments. To our minds, the Curmudgeonly Critique misses one central point. Insofar as Prof. Bernstein's position depends on the thesis that higher temperatures are necessary to "maintain taste," his opinion seems lacking in "fit," as concerns the McDonald's concoction.
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.