Who hasn't burned their mouth or fingers in impatient anticipation of that first bite of newly-prepared food? Whether it's microwaved pizza bites, a bagel from the toaster, or a gourmet dinner, that first bite can lead to instant regret. But some burns are worse than others.
One woman is taking her serious food burn to the next level by suing the restaurant that served her meal. The woman claims the Italian restaurant served her "piping hot" lasagna which led to severe burns on her hand. Hers is not the first hot food lawsuit, and it surely won't be the last.
A Scalding Burn
Theresa Thomas was out to lunch with her husband December 7, 2017 when she ordered the offending lasagna from Patrick Concannon's Osteria Ottimo Ristorante in Chicago. She says that when the food arrived, she went to cut into the lasagna with the fork in her right hand. That's when the piping hot marinara sauce shot out from the lasagna "without warning" onto her left hand which was resting in her lap. The sauce scalded her skin and caused a large burn on that hand.
Lawsuit for Negligently Serving Hot Food
Thomas claims that the restaurant was careless and negligent in preparing and serving unreasonably hot and/or dangerous food, failing to let it cool, failing to train the staff to serve cooler food, and failing to warn her that the food was hot or dangerous. As a result of the incident, the lawsuit alleges Thomas incurred significant medical expenses as well as "great physical pain and mental anguish." These rendered her unable to work and fulfill her usual duties. As a result, she is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.
This case is reminiscent of the famous McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit which resolved in 1994. In that case, a 79-year-old woman was badly burned and hospitalized for eight days after the coffee she purchased at a drive-thru window spilled onto her lap. She was awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages, although that amount was later reduced to $480,000.
If you or someone you know has been burned or otherwise injured, speak with an experienced attorney to assess the strength of your case and understand your options going forward.