Dunkin Donuts Sued by Woman Claiming She Was Burned by 'Scalding' Hot Coffee

A Dunkin Donuts store in the Northeast U.S. is currently being sued by a woman who claims that she was burned by "scalding" hot coffee from the restaurant chain. According to CBS News, Massachusetts resident Angela Barbosa filed a lawsuit in Plymouth Superior Court in early October. She is suing the local owner of the Brockton Dunkin' Donuts, as well as two of his employees who she alleges mocked her injuries.

According to Barbosa, she visited the store in June 2020, riding in the passenger seat of her sister's car as they pulled up to the drive-thru lane and ordered three hot coffees. She alleges that when an employee handed her sister the drinks, the cups were not firmly placed in the holding tray. Barbosa claims that, because of this, the drinks tipped out of the cup and spilled onto her, burning her legs and buttocks. "Screaming in pain, the Plaintiff was forced to rip off her leggings in the parking lot, exposing herself in full view of the Dunkin' Donuts employees," a portion of the lawsuit states. "Seeing this, the employees were pointing, laughing, and mocking the plaintiff."

The lawsuit states that the spill left Barbosa with very serious burns and nerve damage. It also claims that she has had to live with permanent scarring from the incident. Barbose is suing the defendants for negligence and emotional distress. "The defendants' actions were extreme and outrageous, beyond all possible bounds of decency and utterly intolerable in a civilized community," the lawsuit states.

According to CBS Boston, the Dunkin' store where the spill occurred is owned by Cadete Enterprises, a company based in Pembroke, Massachusetts. On its website, Cadete also boasts connections to brands other than Dunkin', such as Anytime Fitness and Meineke Car Care Centers. Cadete claims to be "committed to providing the highest quality in products and services to our guests throughout Massachusetts while maintaining the highest levels of standards," per its website.

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Barbosa's case is somewhat similar to an infamous case that was brought against McDonald's in the mid-90s. A 79-year-old woman named Stella Liebeck spilled coffee in her lap after purchasing it from an Albuquerque-area McDonald's restaurant. The spill resulted in third-degree burns that required serious medical intervention. Liebeck's attorneys argued that McDonald's coffee temperature was set to be far too hot, and therefore was more likely to cause harm than coffee served at other restaurants. Ultimately, Liebeck won the case and settled on an undisclosed compensation amount with McDonald's.