A Florida couple is suing McDonald’s for $15,000 after claiming their 4-year-old daughter was burned by a chicken nugget in August 2019.
Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez are suing the fast-food giant (on behalf of their daughter Olivia) after buying a Happy Meal box at a drive-thru in Tamarac, Florida.
The “dangerously hot” nugget allegedly fell out of the box and into the girl’s lap. A recording of her screams was played in court. Her family said she suffered second-degree burns on her leg from the food that left her “disfigured and scarred.”
“As I am taking the nugget off her skin, it’s falling apart in my hand,” Holmes said. “Her thigh – upper thighs – it was really, really red. She’s screaming, she’s yelling.”
The family is suing McDonald’s and Upchurch Foods, the owner of the franchise location where the incident occurred, for not properly training employees on food safety and negligence.
The defendants claim the McDonald’s employee should not have served nuggets at such an “unreasonably and dangerously” high temperature, deeming them “defective, harmful and unfit for human handling.”
“The reasonable, foreseeable, intended use is for a child to handle this box,” the family’s lawyer, Jordan Redavid, said in court about the standard Happy Meal box. “The law implies a promise from a corporation to, in this case, a child. And if it’s preventable, it’s warnable, you should warn someone about it, and if you don’t do that, then you’re liable.”
McDonald’s released a statement to the Sun Sentinel in response to the lawsuit saying that the company “respectfully disagrees with the plaintiff’s claims.”
Scott Yount, who is representing McDonald’s told the court that there was “no negligence” on behalf of his client.
“Ms. Holmes purchased 32 chicken McNuggets that day. the evidence will show that 31 of them, there was no problem with,” he said.
About 30 years ago, in 1992, Stella Liebeck famously sued McDonald’s for burns she suffered after spilling hot coffee on her lap. She won the case and was awarded $2.7 million by the jury for punitive damages.