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Casshew
12-30-2003, 03:47 PM
Woman Files $10M Suit Vs. Starbucks
Alleges she suffered 'severe burns' from coffee
Top Level Pay, Issues Worker Bonuses


There's no use crying over spilled milk, but hot coffee is a whole other matter.

In a case with echoes of a famous suit against McDonald's, a Glen Cove woman has filed a $10-million claim against Starbucks, alleging she was badly burned by coffee that leaked from the container.

On the morning of May 5, Janine Arslanian bought coffee from Starbucks at 5 School Street in Glen Cove, according to court papers initially filed in October in the State Supreme Court and later moved to federal court in Central Islip. The suit says that as Arslanian received the cup, coffee "leaked and flowed from the container on the bare right hand and arm ... causing her to sustain severe burns" and suffer "permanent injury and scarring." The suit describes the injury as "extensive and gross second and third degree burns to her right hand and arm."

Arslanian would not comment on her lawsuit, and her lawyer did not return calls. A Starbucks spokeswoman said, "It is Starbucks policy not to provide details or comments on pending or current litigation."

This is not the company's first such lawsuit. At least four similar cases have been filed in Manhattan, Palm Beach, Fla., and San Francisco, the first in 1998. In fact, a Manhattan jury awarded another Glen Cove woman $3.5 million in January 2002 for burns she suffered on her right hand when steam and coffee exploded from a Starbucks espresso machine, according to an Associated Press report.

Dawn Samperisi was reportedly injured Feb. 25, 1999, during a demonstration at the Glen Cove Starbucks when an employee didn't properly lock in the filter that holds the coffee grounds. The jury originally voted to award her $4.6 million, but it then held her partially liable and lowered the award. Her lawyer wasn't available to comment.

Starbucks noted in a statement that it serves 25 million customers a week and, "This was a very unusual incident and Starbucks has not received any claims of this specific nature since this occurrence in February 1999. Samperisi experienced a minor burn to her hand that developed into a rare syndrome."

The issue of litigation and hot coffee became famous in 1994 when a New Mexico jury awarded more than $2 million to Stella Liebeck, who was burned by McDonald's coffee at a drive-through window after she placed the cup between her legs. A judge later reduced the bulk of the award to $480,000, and the case was then settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Nevertheless, it helped fuel a national debate on whether consumer lawsuits were out of control and ought to be restricted.

Full Story from Newsday.com (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/columnists/ny-bzstar303605411dec30,0,3929925.story?coll=ny-linews-featured)

xenaswolf
01-05-2004, 11:12 PM
The lady in the McDonalds case should have received every penny of her award. I worked at McDonalds and can tell you for a fact that the coffee was hot enough to cause blisters and worse if you spilled on you. There is no reason in the world for coffee to be that hot.
As far as the Starbuck's case, well once again, coffee should not be hot enough to cause blistering to the skin, no matter who is selling it.