Starbucks ordered to pay woman $100,000 over hot coffee spill

by: KIRO 7 News Staff Updated:

A jury ordered Starbucks to pay up – to the tune of $100,000 – after a woman was burned when the lid on her coffee cup came off in her car and the hot coffee burned her.

It's not the first time there has been a lawsuit over hot coffee that injured someone.

In 1994, a 79-year-old woman suffered third-degree burns when a McDonald's cup of coffee accidently spilled on her lap. She was awarded $640,000.

In the Starbucks case, the lawsuit claimed a Starbucks employee contributed to a customer being injured after a 190-degree Venti spilled on the lap of a Jacksonville, Fla., woman and severely burned her. According to the woman, the lid popped off the cup when the employee handed her the drink at a drive-through.

During the trial a Starbucks employee testified they receive about 80 complaints a month related to loose lids.

A Starbucks spokesperson issued a brief statement about the case that said: "As we said in trial, we stand behind our store partners (employees) in this case and maintain that they did nothing wrong. We're considering an appeal."

Coffee drinkers on the java giant's home turf have their own opinions about the Venti-sized verdict.

"I think it's ridiculous that she sued and won some money," Shirley Posteher said. Jaen Ugalde echoed that statement and said, “"I think it's almost just an excuse to earn some money."

“I've been going there for years. I've never seen an incident like that," Djuan Akers said.

But Samir Omar said she thinks "they shouldn't really be making their drinks that hot anyway."

Starbucks has started offering coffee ice cubes at locations in Baltimore and St. Louis for customers who want their coffee cooler, but not watered down.

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