- A woman in Texas says she got first-degree burns handing a Starbucks coffee back to a barista.
- She’s suing Starbucks, claiming it failed to properly train baristas and secure the lids on drinks.
- Starbucks is investigating the claims. “We take our responsibility to provide a safe environment seriously,” it said.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A woman in Texas is suing Starbucks, saying that she got first-degree burns after she tried to return a drink to a barista at a drive-thru.
Mary Simms ordered a coffee at the Starbucks drive-thru in Tomball, Texas, on April 14, according to a lawsuit filed in Harris County District Court on August 19. A barista told Simms that she had been given the wrong coffee, according to the lawsuit.
Simms stopped her vehicle and was handing back the drink when the lid came off and coffee spilled on her lap, according to the lawsuit.
“As a result of the spill, [Simms] sustained first and second-degree burns causing severe personal injuries and damages,” the lawsuit said.
Starbucks failed to warn Simms of “the unreasonably dangerous condition created by the failing lid, hot water and/or liquid of the coffee,” according to the lawsuit.
It said that the company had failed to properly train and supervise its baristas, secure the lids on drinks safely, and keep the drive-thru safe.
A Starbucks spokesperson told Insider that the company was aware of the lawsuit, and was investigating the claims.
“We take our responsibility to provide a safe environment seriously, and our partners [employees] take great pride in ensuring our beverages are crafted with care and delivered to customers safely,” the spokesperson said.
The lawsuit said that Simms was seeking up to $75,000 to cover damages including medical expenses, lost wages, and “past and future loss of enjoyment of life.”
Simms isn’t the first customer to sue Starbucks over allegations that its hot drinks have caused injuries.
On August 2, a Texas resident filed a lawsuit against the coffee chain and one of its packaging suppliers, claiming that he had suffered second-degree burns after he tried to remove a “splash stick,” designed to stop hot drinks from spilling while you’re carrying them, from his green tea. While he was removing the stick the lid came off and “scalding” liquid poured over his crotch and groin, the lawsuit said.
Other companies have faced similar lawsuits, too: A McDonald’s customer in New Mexico was famously awarded $2.9 million by a jury after she burned 16% of her body on a hot coffee, according to a documentary by Retro Report. Her payout from the fast-food giant was ultimately reduced by more than three-quarters.
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