Starbucks proved victorious in the courtroom yesterday. The coffee colossus convinced an appeals court to uphold a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the company was liable for burns suffered from a cup of spilled tea.
In Feb. 2008, a then 76-year-old NYC woman claims she suffered burns to her leg after spilling her venti-sized tea when she tried to remove the lid. The burn required a skin graft and the $3 million lawsuit alleged that her stay in the hospital bed left her with bed sores and herniated discs.
The plaintiff accused Starbucks of serving tea that was too hot in a double cup — one cup placed inside another — that was defectively designed. She also said Starbucks should have warned her the tea could spill.
In its decision, the appeals court noted that “double-cupping is a method well known in the industry as a way of preventing a cup of hot tea from burning one’s hand.”
Her lawyer sees things differently:
The other side presented an old lady knocking over her tea… The case was really about that Starbucks has a directive to employees that you should not double-cup because it changes the center of gravity and can cause the cup to tip over.
This is just one of several suits filed against Starbucks over spilled beverages. In May, we wrote about the man who says he suffered “great physical pain and mental anguish” after sipping some allegedly too-hot tea. And then there’s the Brooklyn woman who accidentally spilled hot tea on her son and is blaming Starbucks, claiming the cup was too hot to hold on to.