A southern California woman has sued McDonald’s, claiming she was burned by hot coffee, echoing one of the most infamous verdicts in modern history.
Paulette Carr said she was injured Jan. 12, 2012, after buying coffee at a drive-through window of a McDonald’s restaurant in Van Nuys.
“The lid for the hot coffee was negligently, carelessly and improperly placed on the coffee cup … resulting in the lid coming off the top of the coffee at the window, causing the hot coffee to spill onto the plaintiff,” the suit claims.
Carr seeks unspecified damages in the suit, which was filed Jan. 7 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The suit also seeks unspecified monetary damages for lost wages, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and the need for future medical care.
The lawsuit does not describe the severity of Carr’s injuries, and her attorney and representatives from McDonald’s did not respond to requests by the Los Angeles Times for comment.
The suit comes 20 years after a jury awarded $2.9 million to a New Mexico woman who was badly burned by hot coffee, a verdict that was widely criticized and is still cited by advocates for lawsuit reform.
A judge eventually cut that award to $640,000, and the case was later settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
That woman’s relatives have said she suffered third-degree burns in the 1992 incident that required skin graft surgery, adding that McDonald’s had instructed its franchises to serve coffee at dangerously hot temperatures.
An attorney for another California woman who sued McDonald’s in October over burns he received after ordering the drink said the restaurant chain keeps its coffee hot to save money.
Attorney Nicholas “Butch” Wagner said McDonald’s keeps its coffee at “scalding hot temperatures” so it will keep its taste longer so it doesn’t have to be brewed as frequently.
Watch this video about the New Mexico case posted online by The New York Times:
[Image via Agence France-Presse]