Defective product compensation news

Ruling favours coffee chain

An American woman's bid to secure defective product compensation appears to have failed after a judge ruled that that the high street coffee chain Starbucks should not be held liable for the personal injuries she suffered as a result of spilling scalding tea bought from an Upper Manhattan store.

The 76-year-old defective product compensation claimant had hoped to claim around $3 million (US) for burns suffered to her leg and foot when she removed the lid from a "venti" cup of tea, causing it to spill.

Her no win, no fee lawyer had argued that the store's decision to "double cup", where a hot drink is placed inside two cups in order to prevent consumers from burning their hands, could not be considered either unsafe or negligent.

"Double-cupping is a method well known in the industry as a way of preventing a cup of hot tea from burning one's hand," said a judge at an appeal court.

However, the claimant's lawyer contested this position, saying, "The other side presented an old lady knocking over her tea. The case was really about that Starbucks has a directive to employees that you should not double-cup because it changes the center of gravity and can cause the cup to tip over."

The personal injury lawyer conceded that the ruling probably marked the end of the road for the woman's hopes of securing defective product compensation.


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