When pulling into a Starbucks drive-through, the expectations are usually already set. Most of us have had experiences with the coffee emporium whether we love them or hate them, meaning that if Starbucks doesn’t perform to whatever standards we hold them to, it can feel like a big deal at the time. Even if it’s not. When you order a hot coffee from Starbucks, you’d probably be pretty pissed off if you were handed a cool cup of coffee. The same could be said if you ordered an iced coffee and it had no ice in it. I guess that would be better than too much ice? For some reason, Starbucks customers are hilariously litigious and outraged at the drop of the hat. That just comes with success in this country.
So this new lawsuit over Starbucks coffee being too hot should come as no surprise. According to GrubStreet, the latest suit is based on a Starbucks drive-through, a barista named Brie, and a hot cup of coffee that was dropped when handed to her in her car that resulted in layers of her skin peeling off from burns.
If you aren’t as old as I am, you probably won’t remember Liebeck vs. McDonald’s from the ’90s. The case was based around a woman buying a cup of coffee at McDonald’s and spilling it in her lap, burning her in the process and landing her in the hospital for a few days. A New Mexico jury saw the case in her favor and she was awarded $2.86 million until the case was appealed and a judge reduced the amount to $640,000, a final settlement happened in private at an undisclosed amount.
Still, there is precedent here. Houston’s Katherine Mize explains that while at Starbucks, the barista handed her a cup of scalding hot coffee with an unsecured lid, which slipped through her hands when being handed from window-to-window, spilling all over her. She jumped out of her car, shouting obscenities while the staff looked on. She suffered burns and her lawyer is calling the coffee “skin-meltingly hot.”
“It went all down the front of me and on the seat behind me and started burning me immediately. I got out of the car and then just started hollering.”
So while this may seem like a frivolous lawsuit to some, these kinds of lawsuits have happened prior and seen some deal of success. Do you think that this is a step too far, or does she have a point that she should be able to buy coffee without medical bills piling up afterwards?