Girl Awarded $800,000 After Hot Chicken McNugget Burns Her Face

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A Florida jury on Wednesday awarded $800,000 in damages to a 7-year-old girl for the pain and suffering she endured after a Chicken McNugget dropped on her leg and burned her to the second degree.

In 2019, when she was 4 years old and visited a McDonald’s, she suffered a burn injury that drew analogies to a well-known and successful lawsuit brought against the fast-food restaurant by a lady who was burned by hot coffee more than 30 years earlier.

According to court documents, the jury in Broward County awarded Olivia Caraballo the following damages for pain, suffering, and other types of mental anguish: $400,000 for the misery she had already experienced, and an extra $400,000 for any future suffering brought on by the injuries. The family’s attorneys had requested $15 million.

Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez, Olivia’s parents, filed a lawsuit in state court against McDonald’s and Upchurch Foods, the franchisee in Tamarac, Florida.

In May, a different jury found that the two businesses were responsible for failing to give adequate directions or warnings, such as those on the packaging, regarding the risks of injuries that could arise from a Chicken McNuggets meal, which contains chunks of white chicken meat.

McDonald’s and Upchurch Foods May Appeal Verdict

It was unclear on Thursday whether McDonald’s and Upchurch Foods’ attorneys will appeal the ruling. Lawyers for McDonald’s declined to comment. Multiple requests for comment were not immediately answered by the Upchurch Foods lawyers.

They have 15 days under Florida law to request a new trial or 30 days to file an appeal. The family’s primary attorney, Jordan Redavid, claimed that Olivia had received “full justice” as a result of the jury’s verdict.

The defendants have maintained their innocence and lack of responsibility for many years, according to Mr. Redavid. He said that the $156,000 in damages that McDonald’s attorneys had suggested to the jury in their closing arguments were far less than what was ultimately awarded.

The New York Times confirms the news on its official Twitter account:

In August 2019, Ms. Holmes placed an order for Olivia at a McDonald’s drive-through in Tamarac, a town north of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for a six-piece Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal. One of the nuggets landed onto Olivia’s lap after being given to her kid in the back seat, leaving her thigh “disfigured and scarred,” according to the initial lawsuit.

Ms. Holmes stated in a telephone interview on Thursday that she was “satisfied with the decision” and was appreciative that the jury took her daughter’s suffering into account. Ms. Holmes stated, “I just wanted Olivia’s voice to be heard.”

Court to Oversee Distribution of Funds for Child

According to Mr. Redavid, the court will oversee the distribution of the money granted to the child, maybe through the appointment of a guardian who will suggest how it should be done. He said that until Olivia becomes an adult, the money will probably be kept in an investment account.

The complaint, which also involved Mcdonald’s, was brought by a woman who was burned by the coffee at the fast-food establishment. Stella Liebeck, then 79, was severely burned in 1992 after she spilled the morning coffee over her lap in an Albuquerque McDonald’s drive-through.

The first result of Ms. Liebeck’s action was a massive verdict of $2.9 million in damages. Prof. Ryan Calo, who teaches tort law at the University of Washington School of Law, claimed that it turned the McDonald’s case into a parable for excessive litigation.

Since the court processes revealed that the business usually served its coffee between 180 and 190 degrees, Professor Calo claimed that the hot coffee lawsuit was analogous to a typical case in tort law and had more merit than the public discourse had allowed.

He said that while being found partially at fault by the jury, the plaintiff was nonetheless able to change some of the procedures of a big corporation. Later, a judge lowered Ms. Liebeck’s award to about $640,000, concluding that it was a more reasonable sum, he continued.

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At first glance, Mr. Redavid conceded, the two McDonald’s instances appeared similar: a burned consumer, a scalded object, and a sizable settlement from McDonald’s. But he added that the situation was different. Ms. Liebeck was criticized for not realizing a coffee was hot. However, it was hard to criticize Olivia, a 4-year-old kid, for failing to realize how hot a Chicken McNugget might be.

In a statement released following the jury’s decision, Mr. Redavid and his attorneys claimed, “This is not the infamous hot-coffee case; this is Olivia’s case.”

Since the 1992 incident, McDonald’s and a lot of other coffee shops have resorted to printing larger labels with clearer cautions on their products. McDonald’s does not currently have warning labels on its Chicken McNuggets.

Ms. Holmes hopes they do. β€œHopefully, McDonald’s will change their Happy Meal boxes now,” she said, β€œto add a label or a warning that the food inside is coming right out of the fryer.”

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Louis
Louis Ebert

Louis Ebert is a talented content writer with a passion for creating compelling stories and informative articles. With years of experience in writing, Louis has honed their skills in crafting engaging content that resonates with readers.As a content writer for Focushillsboro.com, Louis explores the many facets of life in Hillsboro and the surrounding areas. From delving into the latest trends in local business to highlighting community events and leaders, their writing offers a unique perspective that captures the essence of the area.

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