A lawsuit has been filed against a San Francisco McDonald’s restaurant after it was claimed that an elderly woman had “severe burns” from a hot cup of coffee and that staff members had refused to help her. The plaintiff in the case, Mable Childress, filed a lawsuit on September 14 in the San Francisco Superior Court, alleging that the fast-food restaurant breached its “duty of care” by giving her a coffee cup through the drive-thru that was missing its lid.

  1. The Accusations

Childress claims that the event happened on June 13 of this year at the San Francisco McDonald’s, which is located at 1100 Fillmore Street. Her lawsuit claims that while she was trying to take a sip from the coffee cup, the lid suddenly opened, letting “scalding coffee” spill out and severely burning and scarring her groin. She says that the incident caused her emotional distress in addition to her physical injuries, and it also cost her a lot of money in hospital and medical bills.

Childress tried to report the incident to three McDonald’s workers, including supervisors, according to the lawsuit. She claims that they “ignored” her and “refused to help” until she finally left the restaurant to get medical attention.

How McDonald’s Reacted

In response to the accusations, Peter Ou, the owner and operator of the disputed San Francisco McDonald’s franchise, said that his establishments follow stringent food safety procedures, which include closing hot beverage lids. After Childress recounted her experience later that day, Ou said that they take customer complaints seriously and that within minutes, staff members and management had reached out to her, giving support. They are presently going over the lawsuit’s specifics.

McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit History

McDonald’s has been the target of legal action in the past for its hot coffee. The most notorious incident occurred in 1992 when 79-year-old Stella Liebeck suffered third-degree burns after hot coffee leaked into her lap at a New Mexico McDonald’s. Following a trial in which Liebeck requested a $20,000 settlement to pay for her medical bills, a jury ultimately granted her $2.7 million in punitive damages.

The jury’s verdict was predicated on their discovery that, at the time, McDonald’s coffee was served almost forty degrees hotter than that of other restaurants. A judge then lowered Liebeck’s award to $480,000, with the ultimate settlement sum being kept secret.

Like Recent Occurrence

A Florida family successfully sued McDonald’s for $800,000 in July following an incident in which their 4-year-old daughter claimed burned herself severely after eating a hot Chicken McNugget. The family stated that the child suffered second-degree burns on her leg as a result of the nugget being stuck in her car seat. Both the franchise owner and McDonald’s denied any involvement in the burns.