A North Carolina police officer who attempted to sue Starbucks after the lid of the hot coffee he received for free popped off and spilled on his lap has had his lawsuit dismissed. Lt. Matthew Kohr of the Raleigh Police Department claimed Starbucks was negligent in handing over the beverage but a judge and jury disagreed.
The officer suffered third-degree burns from the accident. According to Kohr’s lawsuit, he was subject to third-degree burns when the lid of the coffee cup popped off and the cup itself “crumbled,” ABC News reports. Given that Starbucks cups are pretty strong, it seems strange that the cup couldn’t handle a hot coffee, but the lid popping off can indeed be dangerous (even though that’s not the barista’s fault).
He claimed the incident made his Chron’s disease worse. Kohr said in the $750,000 lawsuit that the condition, which he suffered from well before the Starbucks incident, experienced a major flare-up after the spill and that he had to be in and out of the hospital and miss work because of the burns. His doctors told the jury that he also suffered from depression after the incident.
There were certain protocols that weren’t followed, of course. A Starbucks manager did testify that the company’s manual does say that hot beverages in venti cups should be served with a protective sleeve or second cup to protect against hot temperatures, and neither of those things happened in Kohr’s case.
Starbucks’ lawyer pushed back on Kohr’s claims. She not only questioned the connection between Kohr’s injuries and what happened after but wondered why he drove home to have his wife photograph the injury and failed to visit an urgent care facility more than two hours after the incident.
Ultimately, no one was convinced that Starbucks was entirely at fault. Kohr and his wife were suing for $750,000 which they say was to pay for his medical expenses. However, a jury failed to find Starbucks guilty of any wrongdoing and the lawsuit was dismissed.
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