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Florida Woman Awarded $100,000 In Lawsuit Against Starbucks

A woman in Florida was recently awarded a hefty $100,000 payment by Starbucks after an employee served her coffee with a loose lid.

Joanne Mogavero filed the personal injury lawsuit against the giant coffee chain in 2015, alleging that she had sustained first and second degree burns when the lid of the coffee she purchased slipped off. It happened in the drive-thru of one the Jacksonville, Florida Starbucks chains. According to the suit, Mogavero attempted to pass the Venti size cup of Pike’s Place coffee to a person in the passenger’s seat when the scalding hot coffee spilled in her lap. The 190-degree coffee left large permanent scars.

The mother of three argued that Starbucks did not warn her that the coffee was so hot and that lid was prone to pop off while holding the drink. She also asserted that the barista failed to adequately secure the lid before passing it to her in the drive through. To affirm her claims, Mogavero’s legal team presented evidence in court revealing that a Starbucks representative had admitted to the fact that they received a whopping 80 complaints per month regarding the faulty lids and their tendency to pop off of the cups. They recorded the statement made by the representative and played it during the court hearing. Starbucks argued back that despite the rate of complaints they received from customers, it would still “not be relevant” for them to warn customers of the risks.

After both sides presented their case, the jury ruled in the favor of Mogavero, awarding her $85,000 for pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, inconvenience and loss of capacity for enjoyment of life. She was awarded an addition $15,000 to cover medical expenses, her attorney Steve Earle confirmed.

“My client didn’t want sympathy from the jury – she wanted justice – and the jury gave it to her with its verdict,” Earle said. “It was good to see a just result.”

Despite the verdict and having to pay out the money to the plaintiff, Starbucks still insists that they have done nothing wrong. The chain continues to refute Mogavero’s claims and claims that they should not be held liable for her injuries.

“As we said in trial, we stand behind our store partners (employees) in this case and maintain that they did nothing wrong. We’re considering an appeal.”

Starbucks is no stranger to being pinned with lawsuits. Over the course of a few years, the coffee giant has accrued several lawsuits ranging from cameras hidden in bathrooms, discrimination against the disabled and false advertising.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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