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Work in pairs. Read the information below and decide how much money the woman should receive.
A woman went to a fast-food restaurant and bought a cup of coffee. She placed the cup between her knees and as she was taking the lid off the cup of coffee to add cream and sugar, she spilled the coffee, which burnt her legs. She decided to sue the restaurant and she found a lawyer who agreed to help her. 
Compare your ideas and explain your reasons. Now read the continuation of the story.
This was not the first time that the company had received complaints about their hot coffee. Company documents showed that they had received at least 700 complaints in the previous ten years. In some of these cases, the company had made the settlement with the plaintiff before the case went to court. In one case (of a woman who suffered similar burns), the company paid $230,000.
Can you suppose what will the woman get? Now read the continuation of the story.
The restaurant’s coffee was served at 82.2 C, which is more than 10% hotter than some other restaurants. According to one of the company’s executives, the company knew that the coffee sometimes caused serious burns. However, the company decided not to warn customers about the danger and did not plan to change the way it served coffee.
A few days before the case began in court, the judge asked the company and the woman’s lawyer to come to a meeting. At the meeting the judge said that he thought the restaurant should pay $225,000. However, the company continued to deny responsibility, arguing that the woman shouldn’t have put the coffee between her legs and claimed that the injuries were more serious because she was old.
What do you think will be the decision of the judge? Read the continuation of the story.
The woman was 79 years old and the burns were extremely serious. She needed to spend seven days in hospital. Apparently, she only decided to sue the company when they refused to pay $800 for her medical bills.
Now read the continuation of the story.
After seven days of listening to the evidence, the jury decided that the restaurant was responsible. The jury decided that the company should pay $160,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $2.7 million in punitive damages. The trial judge later reduced the amount of punitive damages to $480,000.
Do you think the decision of the court was fair?
14. Why do you think people commit crimes? Discuss the problem of the causes of crime.
There have been many theories explaining why people commit crimes. The earliest explanations were based on theology and ethics. They stated that criminals were perverse people who committed crimes on the instigation of the devil. Biological theories spoke about inborn hereditary criminal proclivities. The French political philosopher Montesquieu put forward a climatic theory explaining crime by increase of barometric pressure, humidity and temperature. Social theories see causes of crime in social environment and social problems. There are also psychological theories which find that criminals are psychotic, neurotic and mentally unstable people.
Discuss in groups why teenagers begin to commit crimes. There are some ideas from which you can choose what seems appropriate:
- bad friends;
- bad upbringing;
- influence of the street;
- violence on TV;
- social problems.
After the discussion in groups a representative from each group speaks before the class.
Discuss the measures that can be taken to reduce the level of crime among teenagers.
15. Discuss these questions:
- What types of crime are most/least common in your country?
- Are crime rates falling or rising in your country?
- What explanations can you suggest for it?
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