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
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.