McDonald's found liable for burning kid with Chicken Nuggets.
Would you give an autistic child hot coffee unsupervised? I eat & drink tons of stuff that would burn me if I dumped it in my lap. Should I sue the manufacturer?
This is a tricky one, but the driver shares some of the responsbility?
I just hope the plaintiff's lawyer is well compensated. Well played!
McDonald’s found liable for girl’s burns from chicken nuggets. Next up: Jury to determine how much company will pay
By Rafael Olmeda
May 12, 2023 at 8:10 am
McDonald’s is to blame for not warning customers about the dangers of its overheated Chicken McNuggets, one of which fell on a little girl’s lap and left her with second-degree burns on her upper thigh in 2019, a Broward jury ruled Thursday.
A second jury will be empaneled to decide just how much McDonald’s and its franchise operator will be ordered to pay.
The jury’s decision came after two days of testimony and arguments about what happened to a 4-year-old girl in August 2019 and who was responsible. The girl’s mother, Philana Holmes, testified that she bought Happy Meals for her son and daughter at a Tamarac McDonald’s, receiving no warning that the food might be unusually hot. After receiving the food from the drive-thru window, Holmes said she handed the food to her daughter and son in the back seat and drove away.
When a piece of chicken fell on her daughter’s leg, Holmes said she did not realize at first why her daughter was screaming. The girl, identified in court as Olivia, is autistic and did not testify during the trial. Holmes said she pulled into a nearby parking lot to help the child. That’s when she noticed the burn.
The pictures she took on her iPhone included sound clips that were played in court. The little girl’s intense screams filled the courtroom at the trial’s opening.
Lawyers for McDonald’s argued that the food had to be hot to avoid salmonella poisoning. They also said the nuggets were meant to be eaten, not pressed between a seat belt and human flesh for more than two minutes.
The girl’s parents sued the franchise operator, Upchurch Foods, and McDonald’s USA for failing to adequately train its employees, failing to warn consumers about the “dangerous” temperature of the food, and cooking the food to a temperature much hotter than necessary. The plaintiffs argued the temperature had to be above 200 degrees Farenheit, while defense lawyers argued it was no more than 160.
Each side agreed the nugget caused the girl’s second-degree burns.
McDonald’s USA issued a statement about the decision Thursday. “This was an unfortunate incident, but we respectfully disagree with the verdict,” it read. “Our customers should continue to rely on McDonald’s to follow policies and procedures for serving Chicken McNuggets safely.”
The jury’s verdict was split. Upchurch was found liable for negligence and failure to warn customers about the risk. McDonald’s USA was found liable for failing to provide instructions for safe handling of the food. It was not found to be negligent. For both defendants, the jury rejected the argument that the product was defective.