A woman in Colorado has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming she was improperly served a cup of hot tea at a drive-thru window, which caused the liquid to spill, severely burning her and ultimately killing her dog.
Deanna Salas-Solano is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from the incident. Salas-Solano says that when a Starbucks employee handed a cup of tea to her in 2015, its lid was not secured, and it did not have a hot-cup sleeve on it. Her complaint also states that the temperature of the tea was “unreasonably hot.”
When the hot tea spilled out of the cup, it caused intense pain and severe burns on the victim’s stomach, legs and lap. Salas-Solano was taken to a hospital where she underwent skin-graft surgery for second degree burn injuries. Further, Salas-Solano’s dog was in the vehicle at the time of the incident and had hot tea spilled on him also. The dog was taken to an emergency veterinarian and later died from his injuries. The lawsuit states that the plaintiff has suffered permanent scarring, loss of feeling and emotional distress, among other things.
A Starbucks spokesman says the company denies these allegations and has video evidence proving that their employee was not at fault. However, this is not the first time Starbucks has dealt with legal action related to injuries from a hot beverage. Earlier this year, a Starbucks representative in a similar burn case testified that the company receives 80 complaints per month related to lid leaks and lids popping off.
Salas-Solano’s suit indicates that Starbucks knew or should have known that the actions of its employee would create unreasonable risk of injury to patrons ordering at the store’s Denver drive-thru.