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Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

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Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Old 10-26-14, 02:14 PM
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Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

More than 20 years after a New Mexico woman garnered headlines after she sued McDonald’s over a scalding cup of coffee, a 5-year-old girl has won a six-figure settlement in Buffalo federal court for a similar incident at a Thruway rest stop.

The family of the young girl sued the owners of a Denny’s restaurant in Angola in 2012, took the case to trial and recently agreed to a court-approved settlement of at least $500,000.

The girl, who was only 14 months old at the time, suffered first- and second-degree burns over her neck, chest and abdomen.

Her parents, Jose Adames and Sally Irizarry of Puerto Rico, sued the restaurant’s owners after their daughter grabbed a hot cup of coffee and spilled it on herself in 2010. They claim the waitress was negligent in placing the coffee within the infant’s reach.


“Sometime after the family is seated, a cup of coffee is placed on the table, which the infant was able to grab and dump on herself," the family said in court papers.

The case went to trial last month, but midway through, an insurance carrier for G.B. Restaurants, the company that owned the now-closed Denny’s along the Thruway, offered to pay $500,000 to the family.

The final settlement, approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott, remains confidential but it is believed to be near the $500,000 previously disclosed in court papers.

Lawsuits over hot cups of coffee became fodder for the ongoing national debate over personal injury lawsuits when 79-year-old Stella Liebeck successfully sued McDonald’s in 1992. Liebeck’s Styrofoam cup of coffee spilled on her lap outside one of the chain’s restaurants in New Mexico, causing third-degree burns.

When she filed suit against the chain, she became a lightning rod of sorts. But her lawyers will tell you that, in the end, the facts proved McDonald’s was negligent.

They said the chain had a policy of serving its coffee at 180 degrees, a temperature hot enough to cause serious burns. They also say the company received more than 700 complaints from customers in what amounted to a clear red flag.

In some ways, the Buffalo case mirrored the suit in New Mexico. There were claims about the coffee being kept at overly hot temperatures, and there was testimony during the trial from medical personnel who worked on the infant.

The family also provided evidence that their daughter will require lifetime medical care at a cost of more than $340,000.

“They continue to worry about her health and welfare now and into the future,” the family’s lawyer said of the girl’s parents.


John W. McCandless, the Erie, Pa., lawyer who represented the infant’s family, and Robert W. Gallagher, who represented the restaurant owners, said they could not comment because of the confidential nature of the settlement.
http://www.buffalonews.com/city-regi...ement-20141024

I don't know about the lawsuit, but then again I don't have kids. I guess my first instinct would have been to have gotten the cup out of her reach if it was really placed that close to her.

I had scalding hot coffee spill on me when I was close to the age of the infant in the lawsuit. I guess it wasn't as bad as this, though, since I never had skin grafts or any issues or scars since then.

Last edited by My Other Self; 10-26-14 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 10-26-14, 02:41 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by My Other Self View Post
I don't know about the lawsuit, but then again I don't have kids. I guess my first instinct would have been to have gotten the cup out of her reach if it was really placed that close to the her.
Probably because they, like the waitress, didn't see any cause for alarm in the placement of the coffee until it was spilled. Seems stupid to blame someone else for an accident that you yourself didn't see coming either. But I guess suing whenever possible is the American way.
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Old 10-26-14, 03:22 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

They should just start serving ice cold coffee at these places.
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Old 10-26-14, 04:05 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

As I've said many times before:
It got to be a cliche, any time someone brought up frivolous lawsuits the first thing everyone would say is "That McDonald's coffee lawsuit, OMG what a frivolous bunch of bullshit." It got so I was tired of hearing it. Today it's flipped, the first thing out of everybody's mouth is "You know that McDonald's coffee lawsuit everybody thinks is bullshit? It's not bullshit. It's actually the finest example of a justified lawsuit." I'm so fucking tired of hearing about it. Everybody who says it sounds so full of themselves. Justified or not, just shut up about McDonalds coffee.
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Old 10-26-14, 04:38 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Remember that McDonald's coffee lawsuit? That was a great example of justified bullshit.
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Old 10-26-14, 04:53 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

This seems to not be Denny's fault. I see it as a poor Puerto-Rican family seizing an opportunity for a cash grab. Denny's paying out $500k is a nuisance lawsuit for them. Pay them off and shut them up? Too bad this will probably start a new frenzy of poor folks reaching into the coffers of all those deep pockets. The cost of this burden, of course, will be passed onto us consumers as the cost of doing business...
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Old 10-26-14, 05:41 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Parents have the responsibility.

The MCDonalds lawsuit was frivolous.
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Old 10-26-14, 05:59 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Just when Denny's decides to be good guys and start serving nonwhites, and now this happens.
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Old 10-26-14, 06:10 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

$500k and they lose the kid for neglect, right?
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Old 10-26-14, 06:20 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by dork View Post
Just when Denny's decides to be good guys and start serving nonwhites, and now this happens.
Only wealthy non-litigious white folks should be allowed to have hot coffee. The US Navy requires it to be served at 185 F, even hotter than McD.
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Old 10-26-14, 06:40 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Gotta love how these places can't serve french fries above room temperature, but their coffee is always like molten lead.
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Old 10-27-14, 12:43 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
Only wealthy non-litigious white folks should be allowed to have hot coffee. The US Navy requires it to be served at 185 F, even hotter than McD.
Really? Can you quote a reg or a MIL-STD for me please? I work for the Navy and have never heard of this requirement.
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Old 10-27-14, 12:49 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by kenbuzz View Post
Really? Can you quote a reg or a MIL-STD for me please? I work for the Navy and have never heard of this requirement.
I Googled "Navy Coffee" and 185 and like the fourth result was a DVDtalk thread where Olddude posted a rule from 1945.

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/key-thread-...-coffee-4.html

It's possible that's from his own experience serving in that war, or some earlier one.

Last edited by majorjoe23; 10-27-14 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 10-27-14, 12:57 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

How much did our government spend on deciding that US Navy coffee regulation?

Thanks Obama!
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Old 10-27-14, 03:34 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Gotta love how these places can't serve french fries above room temperature, but their coffee is always like molten lead.
Actually, I don't love it. Many people have been seriously burned.
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Old 10-27-14, 03:41 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by mhg83 View Post
They should just start serving ice cold coffee at these places.

"Did someone say iced coffee????"
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Old 10-27-14, 03:45 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

The MCDonalds lawsuit was frivolous.
No, it wasn't at all.
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Old 10-27-14, 03:55 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by albert_m View Post
No, it wasn't at all.
Agreed. It's actually the finest example of a justified lawsuit.
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Old 10-27-14, 04:03 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by albert_m View Post
No, it wasn't at all.
Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Agreed. It's actually the finest example of a justified lawsuit.
Disagree.

Is the reason for your statements due to the seriousness of the injury?
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Old 10-27-14, 04:04 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
Actually, I don't love it. Many people have been seriously burned.
How many?
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Old 10-27-14, 04:06 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

McDonald's coffee is good but I like Winchell's coffee more.
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Old 10-27-14, 04:09 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

I think we can all agree that the McDonald's coffee lawsuit is the single most important case in American history since Brown v. Board of Education...maybe even more important!
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Old 10-27-14, 04:11 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
I Googled "Navy Coffee" and 185 and like the fourth result was a DVDtalk thread where Olddude posted a rule from 1945.

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/key-thread-...-coffee-4.html

It's possible that's from his own experience serving in that war, or some earlier one.
The National Coffee Association recommends brewing at 195-205 and serving immediately.

http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=71
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Old 10-27-14, 04:19 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ View Post
I think we can all agree that the McDonald's coffee lawsuit is the single most important case in American history since Brown v. Board of Education...maybe even more important!
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Old 10-27-14, 04:26 PM
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Re: Family Wins $500K Settlement from Denny's Over Hot Coffee

Originally Posted by GoldenJCJ View Post
I think we can all agree that the McDonald's coffee lawsuit is the single most important case in American history since Brown v. Board of Education...maybe even more important!
The Supreme Court doesn't care about black coffee.
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