Customer sues McDonald’s over alleged ‘scalding hot’ Burnaby drive-thru coffee spill
A customer alleges that an employee at a Burnaby McDonald's drive-thru location did not secure the lid to the cup, causing the drink to spill on them and cause burns.
What was supposed to be a quick coffee order at a Burnaby McDonald’s drive-thru has resulted in a lawsuit, after a customer alleges that the fast food restaurant’s employee did not secure the lid to the cup, leading the “scalding hot” drink to spill on them and cause injuries.
The plaintiff, Lok Fai Fung, is a mental health support worker in Richmond, according to a notice of civil claim filed in BC Supreme Court on Jan. 17, 2023.
The lawsuit alleges that on Jan. 20, 2021, Fung ordered a coffee at the McDonald’s drive-thru located at 4410 Still Creek Dr.
According to the claim, a McDonald’s employee did not properly secure the lid onto a cup of coffee and proceeded to “let go of the cup of scalding hot coffee before [Fung] could take hold of it” causing the coffee to allegedly spill on Fung, resulting in burns on their left thigh and left wrist.
The claim states that Fung is suing the fast food giant for damages, which include loss of income, loss of earning capacity, and past and future care costs related to health-care services.
The lawsuit notes that “McDonald’s, was under a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for use by members of the public, such as [Fung]."
Therefore, “the incident was caused or contributed to by the negligence and/or breach of statutory duty of [McDonald’s]...” which includes serving the coffee at too high of a temperature, failing to advise Fung that the coffee was “extremely hot,” and neglecting to ensure Fung had a “secure grip” on the scalding hot coffee before letting go of the cup.
McDonald’s has not yet filed a response to the claim and none of the allegations in the civil claim have been proven in court.
This lawsuit is not the first time a customer has taken McDonald’s to court over a coffee spill.
Perhaps one of the most noteable and highly publicized cases is Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants—also known as the 1992 “McDonald’s coffee case,” which involved Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old New Mexico woman, who was severely burned by McDonald’s coffee.
Liebeck and her grandson had bought the coffee from a drive-thru. Her grandson, who was driving, pulled over and parked the car so Liebeck, who was seated in the passenger seat, could add cream and sugar to her beverage.
She placed the cup of coffee in her lap, due to the lack of a cup holder, and proceeded to take off the lid when it spilled.
The coffee was so hot that Liebeck sustained third-degree burns over 16% of her body, resulting in her being hospitalized for eight days.
Liebeck took McDonald’s to court and was eventually awarded $2.9 million USD.