In 1994, a 79-year-old woman went to court after spilling a McDonalds hot coffee in her lap. The victim was awarded $2 million in a verdict that was later reduced to under $600,000. Now a new scalding tea lawsuit here in Colorado bears a striking resemblance to the “Hot Coffee” case, but this time Starbucks is at the center of the controversy.
Is This New Scalding Tea Lawsuit Going to Burn Starbucks?
In September 2015, a woman pulled up to a Starbucks drive-thru in Denver to order a “Venti” sized cup of hot tea. When she was later given that cup of tea, it was allegedly so hot that the woman fumbled the cup when it burnt her hand. Reportedly, the top fell off the cup, spilling hot liquid on the woman. She claims it melted holes in her clothes and caused her to scream. That’s when another passenger in the vehicle, her small dog, responded by jumping into her lap.
The sudden actions of the dog caused more spillage, covering both the woman and the dog in more scalding tea. The pet’s owner rushed it to the emergency veterinarian clinic where it later died. The woman was then rushed to the hospital where she had to undergo skin-grafts for the severe burns on her thighs and stomach. She would later go on to file a lawsuit.
How Is Spilt Tea Negligent?
The woman claims that when she was given her tea, the cup had no heat sleeve or double cupping and that the lid was not properly secured. This combined with the allegedly “unreasonably hot” tea led to her fumbling the cup, causing her injury and killing her pet. She wants Starbucks to pay $75,000 for its employee’s lack of reasonable care. However, the coffee seller claims that video from the store proves that the woman’s claims have no merit. A Colorado court will have to settle the disagreement if a settlement is not reached.
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