Suit: Starbucks 'Extra Hot' Tea Scalded Woman, Killed Dog

Claim says Starbucks barista didn't secure lid
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2017 1:20 PM CDT
Suit: Loose Lid on 'Extra Hot' Tea Killed Starbucks Customer's Dog
A woman walks past a Starbucks coffee shop in Pennsylvania in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A woman is suing a Denver Starbucks over a spilled cup of hot tea she claims caused second-degree burns that disfigured her and killed her dog, the Denver Post reports. A federal lawsuit filed by Deanna Salas-Solano, 58, contends an employee at the drive-thru window didn't secure the lid to the "unreasonably hot" 20-ounce tea she ordered in September 2015. The complaint says the cup was so hot it began to burn her hands; tea then spilled onto her lap, melting her clothes and scalding her stomach, legs, and lap. Her dog, Alexander, was splashed and burned. He was taken to the vet and died shortly after. With 2% of her body surface severely burned, Salas-Solano underwent surgery the following day and needed to get skin grafts. The legal action seeking more than $75,000 for injuries, emotional distress, and lost wages notes Salas-Solano hadn't ordered an "extra hot" tea.

The barista didn't slip a cardboard sleeve on the hot cup and, contrary to Starbucks policy, didn't use a second cup, the suit says. A wall timer marks how fast employees fill orders, per the filing. Starbucks denies the charges, saying a video contradicts the woman's claims. Their legal teams wouldn't provide a copy of it, but KDVR watched it and says it's "not conclusive" what happened. The footage shows Salas-Solano on her cellphone, with her dog on her lap, but the station says it's unclear if she spilled the tea because the cup was hot, she got distracted, or due to a jostle by the dog. Starbucks says in a statement: "We don't have any reason to believe our partner (employee) was at fault." (McDonald's has been sued more than once over hot coffee.)

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