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Can I sue Starbucks if I was harmed due to their negligence?

Beverly Hills, CA |

I purchased a coffee from Starbucks, upon being notified my drink was ready, I picked it up from the counter, the lid came off and HOT coffee spilled on my wrist and hand causing burns. I notifed the employee standing at the counter but he ignored me and turned away. Another customer handed me some napkins, and I cleaned up the spill on the floor, counter and myself, I pressed the lid back onto the cut and left. 5 minutes later after arriving at my place of work, I was exiting the car and once agian after picking the cup the lid came off, spilling coffee on my hand, leg and car floor boards. I returned to the store, explained what happened and the emplyee I spoke with admitted to having problems with the cup lids staying on the cups and brushed me off with a condescending tone of voice

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Attorney answers 6


You can sue- can you find an attorney willing to take this case? Can you prove everything?


Yes. Be certain to retain the cup and the lid. They may have been mis matched. Also, get the name of the store manager and insist of filing an incident report.

Consult an attorney in your areas


you can sue if you can prove that Starbucks was negligent. The question is have you suffered any medical bills or other injuries.


From liability point of view, you potentially can be successful if you have facts sufficient to show that Starbucks was negligent. See the McDonald’s hot coffee case, Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, 1995 WL 360309 (N.M. Dist.). However, your posting does not detail whether you sustained sufficient damages to justify a lawsuit. In the McDonald's hot coffee case, plaintiff suffered third degree burns over 6% of her body and was hospitalized for eight days. If you have not suffered injuries sufficient to require medical treatment, you probably have not sustained damages which justify a suit. In that event, perhaps you can speak to the managment of Starbucks and get coupons for free coffee or discount.

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.


I am presently suing McDonald's for hot tea that burned my client. Watch the HBO special called "Hot Coffee" to see the real facts of the first McDonald's case.


You can sue. Your biggest issue will be the amount of damages. If you only sustained second degree burns the case is likely not worth bringing a products liability action.

Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.

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