A Colorado woman has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming that an employee improperly served her a cup of hot tea at a drive-through window, which caused the tea to spill, severely burning her and killing her dog, who was in the care at the time.
The plaintiff, Deanna Salas-Solano, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from the coffee company, according to the complaint her lawyers filed in the US District Court for the District of Colorado. The incident occurred in September of 2015, when Salas-Solano visited the drive-through window of a Denver Starbucks and ordered a Venti hot tea. According to her complaint, she did not specify that she wanted her drink extra hot. When the Starbucks employee hander her the cup of tea, its lid was not secured, it lacked a hot-cup sleeve, and it was not double-cupped, which is Starbucks’s standard procedure for serving hot tea. The complaint also alleges that the beverage was unreasonably hot. Once she took the cup of tea into her hands, the hot temperature began to burn them, the complaint states. Hot tea then began to spill out of the cup through the unsecured lid and onto her body, which caused her clothing to melt. The tea caused severe burns to Salas-Solano, which caused her to experience intense pain on her stomach, legs, and lap.
Possibly the most disturbing aspect of the incident concerns the plaintiff’s dog. When Salas-Solano began to scream and writhe in pain after the tea spilled, her dog, Alexander, jumped into her lap and caused the rest of the tea to spill onto his body. The dog was then taken to an emergency veterinarian, and died shortly after form injuries caused by the hot tea. Salas-Solano was also taken to a hospital, where she was treated for severe burns and, the following day, underwent skin-graft surgery for “2% total body surface area second-degree burn injury to the abdomen and bilateral thighs,” according to the lawsuit. She has since reportedly suffered permanent scarring, loss of feeling and emotional distress, among other things, the suit states.
Her complaint also alleges that the particular Starbucks location at issue had previously received complaints related to improperly served hot beverages. “At all relevant times, Defendant knew or should have known, using reasonable care, that providing hot tea without a hot-cup sleeve, without securing the lid onto the cup, and/or utilizing unreasonably hot temperatures for the water used the make the tea, would create an unreasonable risk of injury to patrons ordering tea at the drive-thru at the Premises,” the complaint states.A spokesperson for Starbucks said that the company denies Solas-Solano’s allegations and has video to prove that her injuries were not the store’s fault. “I think it goes without saying we’re certainly sympathetic to Ms. Salas-Solano and the injuries she sustained, and my heart goes out to her for the loss of her dog,” the spokesperson said. “Having said that, we have video evidence that clearly contradicts the claims by her and actually believe they’re without merit. We don’t have any reason to believe that our partner was at fault in this.”
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured by hot foods or beverages in a commercial establishment as a result of employee negligence, you may be able to recover through a personal injury action. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Decatur, Lithonia, and Lawrenceville.