Insider reports that a Texas woman is suing Starbucks for some painful injuries caused by coffee that spilled on her during an interaction with a barista. When the barista told the customer she had been given the wrong drink, the customer handed it back over to the employee, but as she did so, the lid came off and coffee spilled right onto her lap, causing first- and second-degree burns, according to the lawsuit.
On the few occasions I’ve had just a plain old black coffee from Starbucks, it’s always been screaming hot, to the point where it’s burned my lips and mouth immediately more than once. That’s a hazard with any hot drink, but in terms of injuries, burns can be extremely painful and severe. Take it from me, a former wood-fired pizza maker whose job was dealing with actual fire. Burns are no joke: they can make your life a living hell and also keep you from going to work.
The lawsuit alleges that Starbucks failed to warn the customer of “the unreasonably dangerous condition created by the failing lid, hot water and/or liquid of the coffee.” It also accused Starbucks of neglecting to train its baristas on keeping the lids on drinks securely. The woman is seeking up to $75,000 to cover things like lost wages, medical expenses, and “past and future loss of enjoyment of life.”
Do any of you remember the McDonald’s lawsuit in 1994, when a 79-year-old woman was initially awarded $2.9 million (later reduced to about $600,000) after being burned by McDonald’s coffee? It’s hard not to think of that when you hear about this latest injury. Back when the McDonald’s case happened, everyone from late night hosts to people on the street were cracking pretty cruel jokes about it, but later it was revealed that the woman’s burns were no less than traumatic: 16% of her body was affected, with 6% of that being third-degree. Often, victims in these cases are just trying to recoup what they’ve already paid in medical bills. No matter what happens in this latest case, can’t we all agree that no one needs the coffee to be served this hot?