Dunkin’ Donuts sued by woman alleging severe burns from spilled coffee

This Jan. 22, 2018 file photo shows the Dunkin' Donuts logo on a shop in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Gene J. Puskar/ The Associated Press

A New Jersey woman is suing Dunkin’ Donuts after she spilled several hot cups of coffee on her lap and suffered severe burns as a result.

Samantha Picklo told CBS News the incident happened last summer while on her morning coffee run.

Picklo told KKTV that she’d ordered three cups of coffee in the drive-thru that morning and accepted the tray from an employee.

“As he tried to pass it to me, before I could even take it from him, I watched as the extra-large cup of coffee just fell forward,” Picklo said. “And then the other two fell right on me.”

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“I never felt such a pain in my life.”

The lawsuit claims a stronger tray would have prevented the coffee from tipping over and spilling on her, but, instead, she was left recovering in a local burn centre for three days.

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Picklo told Inside Edition that the coffee burned so bad that she was forced to rip off her pants before calling 911.

She says she sustained burns to more than 30 per cent of her skin.

Her story echoes the now-famous hot coffee lawsuit of 1992, when a woman successfully sued fast-food giant McDonald’s for $3 million in damages after she was badly burned by a cup of spilled java. However, unlike that case, Picklo’s lawsuit focuses on the coffee tray, rather than just the temperature of the brew.

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“All the industry has to do is have a holder that has higher sides and is more secure,” her lawyer, Paul D’Amato, told CBS News.

He told KKTV that they’re looking into who manufactures the trays and will add that company to the lawsuit, too.

“Her goal, as well as her husband’s goal, is to prevent this from happening to other people in the future,” D’Amato said.

This isn’t the first time Dunkin’ Donuts has been sued by customers over coffee-related burns.

In April 2021, a man filed a lawsuit after he was allegedly left severely burned by a spilled cup of hot coffee.

And in October of last year, another woman sued a Massachusetts Dunkin’ store and two of its employees after she said employee negligence resulted in the spill of three cups of coffee in her lap, reported NBC News.


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