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McDonald’s once again sued after customer burns herself with hot coffee

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NEW YORK (CNN) — McDonald’s is being sued over a hot coffee spill, again.

This time, a San Francisco location is being accused of serving a “scalding” cup of coffee with an improperly attached lid, which allegedly resulted in the coffee pouring out on plaintiff Mable Childress’ body and causing “severe burns” after she tried drinking it.

The lawsuit, filed last week, alleged that the elderly woman is suffering from “physical pains, emotional distress and other damages.” The restaurant’s negligence was a “substantial factor” for her injuries, it alleged.

Childress also said in the lawsuit that the restaurant employees “refused” to help her, a point that the McDonald’s denied.

“We take every customer complaint seriously and when Childress reported her experience to us later that day, our employees and management team spoke to her within a few minutes and offered assistance,” the McDonald’s franchisee owner, Peter Ou, said in a statement to CNN.

“My restaurants have strict food safety protocols in place, including training crew to ensure lids on hot beverages are secure,” Ou said, adding that the company is “reviewing this new legal claim in detail.”

This case echoes the famous McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit several decades ago, in which another woman spilled coffee on her lap and suffered third-degree burns. Third-degree burns are the most severe and penetrate through the entire skin.

A jury in 1992 agreed with her contention that the coffee was unreasonably hot, which it was, according to the American Museum of Tort Law. The coffee was “30 to 40 degrees hotter than coffee served by other companies,” the law museum said. The plaintiff in that case was initially awarded nearly $3 million, but she settled for less, around $480,000 after an appeal.

Earlier this year, McDonald’s was found liable in another case involving hot food.

A Florida jury awarded a family $800,000 in a civil lawsuit against McDonald’s and one of its franchisees after a toddler was burned by hot chicken nuggets. The jury found franchise owner Upchurch Foods was liable for failing to properly warn or provide reasonable instructions on the possible harm from the hot McNuggets served at a Miami-area location.

McDonald’s in a statement called it an “unfortunate incident” but that they “respectfully disagree with the verdict.” Its defense said it had no control over the injuries and damages.

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