Another reminder that hot coffee and those sucky plastic to-go lids remain one of life’s worst combinations: A Florida woman who got scalded by coffee in a Starbucks café’s drive-through was awarded $100,000 this week for the injuries she sustained. The jury in the case agreed that the chain was negligent for the lid that popped off of Joanne Mogavero’s cup, which promptly spilled onto her lap, leaving her severely burned.
Mogavero’s attorneys argued that not only was it Starbucks’s fault that the lid came off, but that the chain should also be forced to warn customers that this has become a semi-regular occurrence. An employee testified during the trial that Starbucks actually receives 80 complaints about lids either leaking or coming off every month, and they noted it was extra unhelpful that Mogavero’s loose-lidded venti Pike Place was filled to the cup’s brim — so, almost 20 ounces of hot liquid. The incident happened back in July of 2014, as Mogavero was trying to take a cup from the drive-through attendant and pass it to a passenger. The contents dumped into her lap, leaving her with first- and second-degree burns that healed with permanent scarring after $15,000 worth of medical bills.
The jury awarded Mogavero the cost of her medical bills, plus an additional $85,000 for pain and suffering. Her lawyer said in a statement that she “didn’t want sympathy from the jury — she wanted justice — and the jury gave it to her.”