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McDonald’s faces legal battle over alleged “Scalding” coffee incident resulting in severe burns

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McDonald’s, the fast-food giant, is once again grappling with a lawsuit related to a coffee mishap that left a customer with significant injuries. Mable Childress, the plaintiff, claims that she suffered severe burns and emotional distress after a scalding cup of coffee spilled on her at a San Francisco McDonald’s drive-thru in June.

According to the complaint filed last Thursday in a California court, the incident occurred due to what Childress’s lawyer alleges as improper lid securing by McDonald’s employees.

This mishap led to the sudden release of scorching hot liquid when Childress attempted to take a sip from her coffee cup. The complaint firmly asserts that the negligence of the employees played a substantial role in causing harm to Childress.

The consequences of this unfortunate event were not trivial, as Childress reportedly sustained scarring in her groin area as a result of the incident. Furthermore, she claims that when she initially tried to report the incident to three restaurant employees, they not only refused to assist her but also ignored her pleas. Frustrated by the lack of response, Childress eventually left the restaurant to seek medical attention for her injuries.

In response to these allegations, Peter Ou, the owner and operator of the McDonald’s in question, stated, “My restaurants have strict food safety protocols in place, including training crew to ensure lids on hot beverages are secure.” He added, “We take every customer complaint seriously – and when Ms. Childress reported her experience to us later that day, our employees and management team spoke to her within a few minutes and offered assistance. We’re reviewing this new legal claim in detail.”

This incident bears an eerie resemblance to a famous 1992 case where McDonald’s was ordered to pay nearly $3 million to an elderly woman who suffered severe burns from a cup of coffee heated to temperatures between 180 and 190 degrees. In 2014, another California woman sued the fast-food chain over a similar coffee lid issue, resulting in a confidential settlement.

This recent incident adds to a growing list of legal challenges faced by McDonald’s in relation to its beverages. In July, a Florida jury awarded $800,000 to a girl who alleged severe burns caused by a Chicken McNugget falling onto her leg in 2019. McDonald’s continues to grapple with these cases, highlighting the importance of ensuring customer safety and proper handling of hot beverages in their establishments.

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