Woman Severely Burned by Starbucks Coffee Sued and Won $100,000
When a woman in Duval County, Florida, went to Starbucks in July 2014, she had no idea that her coffee—and its faulty lid—would completely change her life. Joanne Mogavero, a 43-year-old mother of three, was awarded $100,000 by Starbucks on Thursday three years after the lid of her 190-degree coffee popped off in a drive-thru and spilled all over her lap, resulting in severe burns and permanent scarring. Her lawyers argued during trial that Starbucks should warn customers of its lids' tendency to pop off, seeing as the company receives 80 complaints a month about faulty lids. While Starbucks said it "would not be relevant" to give customers a warning, the jury sided with the woman.
The 20-ounce Venti cup of hot coffee was filled to within a quarter-inch of the top when the lid popped off, spilling the coffee all over her mid-section and resulting in severe burns. The jury awarded Mogavero $85,000 for "pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, inconvenience, and a loss of capacity for enjoyment of life," as well as $15,000 in medical bills, according to a statement.
"My client didn't want sympathy from the jury," attorney Steve Earle said in the statement. "She wanted justice—and the jury gave it to her with its verdict. It was good to see a just result."
This, of course, isn’t the first time a major food chain has been taken to court over a dangerous coffee incident. Back in 1992, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck was awarded nearly $3 million in damages from McDonald's after receiving third-degree burns from scalding coffee. The infamous case led to various heated debates about "frivolous lawsuits," despite the fact that the severe burns required skin grafts on Liebeck's inner thighs.