Woman 'scalded' by McDonald's chocolate: suit

According to documents filed at Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Mary Corbin of Shubenacadie, N.S., claims the woman who handed her the drink at a London, Ont., outlet of the burger chain was negligent because she did not ensure the cap was securely fitted. "When I raised the drink to my mouth, the lid flew off and the entire contents spewed out," Ms. Corbin writes in her statement, "whereby I was scalded by the hot chocolate, from the centre of my breasts down to my naval [sic]."

The Financial Post
January 15, 2002

Woman 'scalded' by McDonald's chocolate: suit
Spilled on chest
Andrea MacDonald

HALIFAX - A Nova Scotia woman is taking McDonald's to court over a cup of hot chocolate she claims caused first-degree burns last fall when she spilled it over her chest.

According to documents filed at Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Mary Corbin of Shubenacadie, N.S., claims the woman who handed her the drink at a London, Ont., outlet of the burger chain was negligent because she did not ensure the cap was securely fitted.

"When I raised the drink to my mouth, the lid flew off and the entire contents spewed out," Ms. Corbin writes in her statement, "whereby I was scalded by the hot chocolate, from the centre of my breasts down to my naval [sic]."

Ms. Corbin is seeking just over $50,000 in damages but has said she is willing to settle for only $20,000 if the company makes an offer by next week.

But Scott Norton, the Halifax lawyer representing McDonald's, said yesterday that the company denies all allegations and plans to fight the suit in court. "Like any commercial enterprise, it's open to legal action," he said.

Ms. Corbin was allegedly burned last October at a McDonald's located inside a Wal-Mart store. She was there with her husband for a family portrait.

She says in the court document that people began staring at her after the spill, as she walked around crying in her chocolate-stained clothes.

Ms. Corbin claims she never even got a new drink.

The hot chocolate scalded her so badly, she says she could not wear a bra and was unable to pull her jeans up to her waist.

If she had not pulled her shirt away from her skin quickly and her husband had not immediately applied salve, the burns would have undoubtedly been worse.

Last April, a woman in Knoxville, Tenn., settled a similar lawsuit against McDonald's over a hot pickle she said caused second-degree burns on her chin when it fell out of her burger.

Veronica Martin sued for US$110,000, contending the pickle was defective and unreasonably dangerous to the customer. She settled for an undisclosed amount.

The suit of another woman is still before Illinois courts over a coffee spill at the fast-food chain.

The legal actions all hearken to the case of a New Mexico woman, who in 1994 was awarded $2.7-million after suing McDonald's for burns she suffered when coffee she bought at a drive-through window spilled in her lap.

A judge later reduced the award to just under $500,000.


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