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11/18/2006 09:51 AM ID: 58396 Permalink   

Starbucks Burned by Hot-Chocolate Lawsuit


Alexis Brennan was shocked to hear her daughter Rachel scream in pain as their car pulled away from a Starbucks drive-thru from where they had bought a couple of hot-chocolate drinks. She pulled over, surprised to find that her daughter was scalded.

The Brennan family is now suing for an unspecified amount. A Starbucks public-relation firm fired back a sympathetic but stern reply, noting that the incident happened after the vehicle had pulled away from the drive-thru.

The Brennan lawsuit states that the corporation's policy is to prepare 'child drinks' at a lower temperature than 'adults drinks'. The suit states that the skin on Rachel's leg had fallen off of her and she has had several medical treatments.

    WebReporter: theironboard Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  Child drinks lower in temp than Adult?  
Uh.. So, what, are adult drinks generally made to the heat specification where they sear off flesh, and there was just a mixup of temperatures?
  by: velger   11/18/2006 11:38 AM     
  to be honest  
i never understood how people can drink hot drinks.. ok, i prepare mine hot but i let it cool to room temperature before i even touch it.
  by: DarkAngelJG     11/18/2006 12:26 PM     
  don't eat and drive  
I am sorry, but as a parent and an American I can only comment on one thing:

Get off the phones when you drive, and FFS stop eating while driving, you pigs! Go home and cook something for once. Hardly anyone else on the planet does it.

(and does Starbucks actually have 'child drinks' or are they just 'small'?)
  by: theironboard     11/18/2006 02:03 PM     
on long road trips you need to drink/ drive... specially kids, you don't want to have a lathargic kid when you reach your destination!
but i agree, it should be done carefully and totally no talking on the phone when driving with a kid next to you!
  by: DarkAngelJG     11/18/2006 02:54 PM     
I hate how people sue when they act in the wrong manner. You buy hot chocolate and sue them because its hot? seriously, how stupid is that. The worst part is they will win a case. I blame it on the parent for not putting it in a cup holder or something of the sort.
  by: confed   11/18/2006 03:05 PM     
  I know I know...  
... but would put a hot liquid in a cheap paper container into the hands of your child without thinking about it first?

long road trips, be damned....
  by: theironboard     11/18/2006 03:10 PM     
  Another moron  
the parent, not the kid.

This is the sort of person that demands labels on cheeseburgers because they didnt realise they were fattening, labels on hot drinks because they didnt realise they were made from boiling water, labels on toilet roll because even though its 4 times softer than competitors you still cant eat it and labels on socks just to verify you cant use them as gloves and type.
  by: AccessG     11/18/2006 03:15 PM     
Nice job of overstating, it doesn't really make your point though.

If the hot chocolate did that kind of damage it was WAY too hot, however, the mother gets some blame for 'driving with hot drinks'. I'd say the blame falls somewhere between 50/50 (starbucks/mother) and 30/70.
  by: StarShadow     11/18/2006 04:11 PM     
  i think its pritty clear what was in the cup  
you would exspect "Hot" chocolate to be hot
  by: JOCKSTEELUK   11/18/2006 04:46 PM     
  kids hot chocolate not "hot"  
Starbucks intentionally makes kid's drinks not as hot as adult drinks.
And they make the adult ones only warmish unless you ask for extra hot.
That is their policy.
I suspect another case of american fraud against a huge corp.
  by: davesnews   11/18/2006 05:15 PM     
  If anything...  
the mother should've burned her mouth while making sure it wasn't too hot to give to her child. Stupidity is becoming more and more profitable.
  by: erasedgod   11/18/2006 05:19 PM     
Just so you guys know, that when I make a cup of tea or hot chocolate I usally bring my water to a boil. Which if you have had it poured on you It will scald. Also I think flesh just doesnt fall off. It could have been scaled so bad to the point were it burns away. But seriously I let my drink cool before I touch it. This is a classic stupid parent letting there kid do something. Erogo umm say playing violent games, or drink hot chocolate or something other stupidity and not wanting to take the blame. Screw them.
  by: xloner12     11/18/2006 05:26 PM     
I do agree that this is a stupid reason to sue...

But it makes me happy to see starbucks having to shell out.

Stick it to the man!!@
  by: hamstertube   11/18/2006 05:40 PM     
Just so you guys know, that when I make a cup of tea or hot chocolate I usally bring my water to a boil. Which if you have had it poured on you It will scald. Also I think flesh just doesnt fall off. It could have been scaled so bad to the point were it burns away. But seriously I let my drink cool before I touch it. This is a classic stupid parent letting there kid do something. Erogo umm say playing violent games, or drink hot chocolate or something other stupidity and not wanting to take the blame. Screw them.
  by: xloner12     11/18/2006 05:52 PM     
  i agree with starshadow  
starbucks is SUPPOSED to make drinks at the same temperature unless you ask specifically, but that doesn't mean their employees are perfect. sometimes they're rushed or busy and they aren't watching the thermometer when they're supposed to be. i go to starbucks a lot and unless i specify the exact temperature for my drink, it varies quite a bit.

starbucks has the most expensive and fancy espresso and water heating machines in the world. they don't need to heat their water (or milk) to boiling because they can get it at exactly the temperature they want more easily than that. when steaming milk, they leave the drink under the steamer until it reaches the right temperature. the employee probably wasn't watching; otherwise there is no way the drink would have become hot enough to sear flesh off.

at the same time, this idiot parent should have noticed when she picked up a hot chocolate cup full of very very very hot liquid. even if it wouldn't burn her through the cup, she would definitely feel the heat through the paper enough to recognize that it might be dangerous to her daughter. the article doesn't say the daughter's age, but she was in a child-restraint car seat, which implies somewhere under 5...what kind of person doesn't check how hot a HOT chocolate is before giving it to a 5 year old???

besides, the kid was probably smart enough to wait to drink it. little rachel probably felt that the cup was hot. it was the mother who drove away suddenly enough to make the cup spill onto her daughter.

i think the responsibility is split 20% starbucks-80& mother. starbucks is a corporation and their employees naturally make mistakes; that can't be avoided. alexis brennan needed to be taking care of her kid.
  by: midgica   11/18/2006 07:11 PM     
  Assuming the claim is true ...  
... shouldn't you have a reasonable expectation that a beverage you buy is ready to drink? If there's a chance your flesh could fall off if you spill this beverage on yourself, shouldn't people be warned of that?
  by: l´anglais     11/18/2006 07:48 PM     
  We are all making the same points:  
1. Mother is dumb
2. Kid is the victim
3. Starbucks should carry on selling over-priced HOT chocolate

A friend of mine used to work for Starbucks legal dept.... long-time employee (now is 'retired' at 33 years old). He is SO paranoid about EVERYTHING. Europe is really freaking him out.

I'll ask him EXACTLY what the Starbucks says about it.

He did say that a HUGE percentage of their profit goes into employee compensation and lawsuit payouts. I forgot the exact percentage, but it was stunningly large.
  by: theironboard     11/18/2006 07:55 PM     
  Wierd Al  
"Im gonna sue ya!"

to quote "Im gonna sue starbucks, cause I spilled a frapacino on my lap, and BRRRR it was coooold!"

Really listen to that song it says it all about stupid people. There are warning lables on windows and the cups, "This shits hot yo"
  by: pyronius     11/18/2006 08:14 PM     
  I don't drink Coffee  
But if there is a warning label on the cups (like the McDees ones.) The states the contents of the cup are hot.. Then Starbucks is off the hook. After all common sense (which most don't have) says HOT chocolate is HOT. and the warning Label Stating that what is inside is HOT.
  by: CaveHermit   11/18/2006 11:37 PM     
  It's supposed to be hot.  
I don't drink coffee. As with hot chocalate, I cannot understand how some people can drink it when it's practically boiling. But I have seen people complain about coffee if it wasn't steaming hot when they get it. Coffee drinkers want it hot. But since you can't sue over a cold drink, I guess business dictates you cool the drinks down a little.
  by: insomniac84   11/19/2006 12:46 AM     
  The drink is supposed to be hot, however..  
If I spill some hot coffee on me from most places, I know it'll hurt like hell, but I would expect them to be responsible enough to give me a product which isn't going to cause permanent damage. There's no reason to make it *that hot* unless the customer specifically asks for it to be rediculously, skin-searingly hot. Most will just wait for it to cool anyway.
  by: velger   11/19/2006 02:31 AM     
that's why you can order it XH (extra hot) at starbucks. they even have a sharpie abbreviation for the cups!
  by: midgica   11/19/2006 04:17 AM     
  At least  
Starbucks won't be getting any false advertising claims over their hot chocolate. But what is this lady thinking? It's not like you can buy a knife then walk out of the store and drop it on your toes then sue the store if it cuts one off. It's not Starbucks fault that she has butterfingers, they should CPS on her.
  by: qhobbes   11/19/2006 10:38 AM     
  only in america  
can you go forth with a lawsuit like this. wasnt there a woman who burned herself with some coffee sometime in the 90's and she sued the chain for having too hot coffee and actually won the case?
  by: Amaze   11/19/2006 12:28 PM     
Yeah I'm just going to make the same comment as almost everyone else.

If you buy hot chocolate, you expect it to be hot. If you buy a hot drink as a parent you might want to check it before handing it to your young child.

The source doesn't say how young the child was, as it was not disclosed in the lawsuit. However she was sitting in a child seat, which certainly does not make her old enough to be handed hot drinks in a moving vehicle.

Quite honestly, I don't understand why such a young girl needs to be drinking a sugary teeth rotting fat fest like that anyway.

If you are a kid in a child seat you should be drinking healthy juice or water. Not some sugar loaded crap from Starbucks at $5 a cup.

Brainless parents. I hope they lose their ass.
  by: ZCT     11/19/2006 01:48 PM     
in 1994 some chick stuck her coffee between her legs, drove away too fast, spilled it, and burned herself. she sued mcdonalds because it was too hot and won.
  by: midgica   11/19/2006 08:33 PM     
  I've never had  
a hot drink from starbucks... always a little lukewarm when they spill on my shirt.
  by: p_g_chris   11/19/2006 08:35 PM     
  extra sensitive?  
This doesn't prove that it was to hot. Might have been a person with sensitive skin. Where on the leg was it? Some places like inside the thigh is extra sensitive. Getting several medical treatments means nothing. I know people who wouldn't go to the hospital unless they were dying, I also know of people who rushes to the emergency if their kid as much as sneezes
  by: aljo4025   11/19/2006 09:10 PM     
The source article mentions the McDonald's coffee lawsuit; a lady made $125,000 by suing McD.

Since then the rest of the world laughs at Americans because of that lawsuit. I am not kidding. I've been to many countries and have often had this mentioned to me.
  by: theironboard     11/19/2006 09:14 PM     
  regarding children temperature drinks  
yes they do, do them. a regular cup of starbucks is normally around 140ºF. thats when the steamers shut off by default. if you want it cooler, you gotta shut it off before. for cider n stuff, they usually stick in a few ice cubes.

also, you need to specify if its for children. the article is a little vague on the detail. they dont mention if the parent gave her daughter the correct cup or not so that may be an issue since there was 2 cocoas present, one for the parent. could prove by testing if there was whip cream or not spilled since only one cup had whip.
  by: foosh84   11/20/2006 07:16 AM     
stupid leech trying to make money off their own dumbass.

How about some self responsibility and logic you <deleted> This system of scapegoating is <deleted>
  by: ke1n   11/20/2006 07:53 AM     
  I hate my comment, planning on suing myself  
Wish I could go back in time when the world and people made sense. Did they have cable internet back in the "Stone Age?"
  by: RunsWithScissors   11/20/2006 07:23 PM     
  Please save us from hot drinks vendors!  
How fast was the car pulling away anyway?

My driving instructor used to keep a cold glass of water on the dashboard. If I spilled it, I would have to practice the maneuver again and again until I'd mastered it.

Unless the driver was performing an emergency stop at the time, I'd say the driver was at fault.
  by: CrisW   11/20/2006 09:48 PM     
all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out!
  by: p_g_chris   11/20/2006 10:39 PM     
  No wonder other countries hate us. . .  
This is so incredibly stupid. It's called hot cocoa for reason. If it's for a little kid, maybe as a mother she should've checked it. I check the temperature of food and drinks before I had it off to my little cousins.
  by: lysmix   11/24/2006 08:16 PM     
  Common Sense.....  
Is not that common
  by: spacechimp     12/04/2006 04:34 PM     
I have been in a Starbucks 3 times in my life...the unusually high prices and other factors made me decide to never patronize them again.
  by: owlafaye   12/06/2006 05:11 PM     
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