Deanna Salas-Solano is seeking over $75,000 in damages from the coffee giant. In her lawsuit, she claims that she had ordered a cup of hot tea at the drive-through of a Denver Starbucks. According to the complaint, when the Starbucks employee handed the cup of tea over to Ms. Salas-Solano, the lid was not properly attached, the cup lacked a hot-cup sleeve, and the employee had not “double-cupped” the beverage. The complaint further alleges that the temperature of the tea was “unreasonably hot” even though the Plaintiff had not asked for the drink “extra hot”.
The complaint specifies that once Plaintiff received the beverage from the employee, the hot temperature of the cup immediately began to burn her hands. This resulted in hot tea spilling from the cup via the unsecured lid onto Plaintiff’s body. As Ms. Salas-Solano began to react to the burning liquid on her stomach, lap, and legs, her dog, Alexander, hopped into her lap during the commotion and was also burned. The dog was taken to an emergency vet but later died. Photographs of the dog’s burn injuries were attached in the complaint against Starbucks.
Ms. Salas-Solano also went to the hospital where she was treated for severe burns. The next day, she underwent a skin-graft surgery for 2% of her surface of her skin with second-degree burn injuries. The lawsuit alleges that she suffers from permanent scarring and emotional distress.
Similar to the famous McDonald’s coffee lawsuit where a woman received a substantial jury verdict for severe burns to her genitalia, the Plaintiff here alleges that the same store had received complaints in the past concerning improperly served hot beverages. The plaintiff alleges that this shows that the company should have been on notice that their employees were negligent and not following Starbuck’s company policies with regard to the safe service of hot beverages.
In May of this year, a jury awarded $100,000 to a woman in Florida who was severely burned and permanently scarred after a 190-degree coffee fell into her lap. During the Florida woman’s trial, a Starbucks agent testified that the company receives more than 80 complaints per month regarding leaking or defective lids.
However, Starbucks is denying the allegations and claims that there is video evidence to prove that the coffee chain is not responsible. A spokesperson for the company had this to offer: “we have video evidence that clearly contradicts the claims by her and actually believe they’re without merit. We don’t have any reason to believe that our partner [employee] was at fault in this.”
The lawsuit was likely filed at this time to preserve the claim due to the running of the statute of limitations. In many states, a lawsuit for personal injuries must be filed within 2 years of the accident; otherwise the claims will be barred. The incident happened in September 2015, and the lawsuit was filed September 2017, likely days before the 2-year anniversary.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of a company’s employee or due to a dangerous product, you may be entitled to a significant settlement. Since, the time period during which you have to assert a claim is often very short, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights. If you have been injured call us anytime at 908-353-5850.