A hot cup of coffee in the morning hits the spot, but no one ever expects or likes their food or drink being spilled on them. This is exactly what caused a 70-year-old Atlanta woman to file a lawsuit against a local Dunkin Donuts. The woman’s attorney, Benjamin Welch specified that this incident occurred in the drive-thru of a Dunkin Donuts in Sugar Hill, Georgia, in February 2021. The lid of her coffee came off, spilling all over her, and this led to “second as well as third-degree burns on her thighs, thighs, groin, and abdomen,” as per Complex Magazine. The lawsuit alleged that the incident wouldn’t have happened if the drive-thru employee had properly sealed the lid on the cup, according to Yahoo News. The 70-year-old victim had also just recently retired from her “long-held position as a federal government employee”, also as per Yahoo News.
As a result, the poor lady had to receive “extensive leg grafts”, and “faced ongoing medical expenses that reportedly exceed “$200,000”, according to Complex Magazine. Her attorney who works for Morgan & Morgan also said that she had to “relearn how to walk” and still struggles with certain “day to day activities”, according to The New York Post. Welch beautifully stated; “America may run on Dunkin, but our client had to re-learn how to walk due to the severity of her burns,” Welch said. “Her burns were so severe that she spent weeks in the burn unit at Grady Health and has had to entirely alter the way she lives her life. Walking still causes her pain, she can’t go out in the sun, and she must apply creams and ointments to her burns several times a day,” to be exact, also according to The New York Post.
The founder of the law firm in which the victim’s lawyer works, John Morgan stated: “One of the most famous lawsuits in American history centers around scalding coffee that caused severe burns. Yet restaurants still have failed to learn their lesson to prioritize customers’ safety. We hope this settlement sends a message to all restaurants and franchisees: this isn’t complicated; train your employees properly and prioritize customer safety”, according to Yahoo News. John Morgan is basically saying that it is imperative that restaurants and franchises properly as well as efficiently train their employees, and that they value not only the safety and happiness of the employee but of the customer as well.
Interestingly enough, several sources say that this case draws eerily similar parallels to the 1994 Liebeck vs. McDonald’s case in which another elder woman also claimed as well as won a case where she accidentally spilled McDonald’s coffee on herself too.
Fortunately, the elderly Atlanta woman has received a 3 million dollar settlement in this lawsuit, according to the New York Post. Hopefully, all restaurants, fancy or casual, fast-food or dine-in, can learn from this incident, and learn to prioritize their customers’ safety and employee’s training a little more. The comfort and joy of both the employee and customer should be equally upheld.