McDonald's Hot Coffee Lawsuit
Calculus I

(from Instructor's Resource Manual for Calculus from
Graphical, Numerical and Symbolic Points of View
by Ostebee and Zorn)

Statement of the Problem                                      
Mrs. X was a passenger in an automobile that stopped at a drive thru window early one morning for coffee.  She received a cup of coffee from the attendant, placed it in the cupholder for several minutes, held the coffee in her hands for a short time, and then spilled the coffee in her lap.  She maintains that the coffee was much too hot when spilled and is suing the fast food restaurant for $200,000 for personal injury, emotional distress, and dry cleaning bills.  Given certain specifics about her story (times and temperatures), model the cooling coffee with a mathematical expression (function) and then argue for or against Mrs. X's lawsuit.

Student Solution (mathematical references are not included)