A woman who says she suffered second-degree burns after the top came off a cup of hot water served to her at a McDonald's in the Westchester area is suing the restaurant chain, alleging employees deliver hot water and tea in a negligent manner to drive-through customers.
Lynne Gipson filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against McDonald's Restaurants of California Inc., alleging that consumers like Gipson receive inadequate warnings of the "unique harm" they face when served hot water by McDonald's employees.
Gipson is seeking unspecified damages.
McDonald's spokesman Max Gallegos Jr. issued a statement on behalf of the company.
"Nothing is more important to us than the safe operation of our restaurants, especially the safety of our customers," the statement read. "As this is a pending legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further."
According to her complaint, Gipson ordered food and a cup of hot water in the drive-through at the McDonald's at 5223 Century Blvd. in Los Angeles on June 2, 2012.
After the employee passed the water to Gipson, the lid on the cup "popped off, causing the scalding water to spill onto her hand, stomach and lap," the suit states.
"Ms. Gipson yelled out in pain as a result of the hot water spilling upon her," according to the suit. "The drive-through attendant stated that she was sorry because the cups were new and were being tried out."
No employee offered Gipson help, according to her court papers.
Gipson says she parked her car until she was able to drive, then went home and applied ointment to the burn areas on her skin. Her pain worsened and her doctor the next day told her she had second-degree burns to her thigh and stomach, her suit states.
Gipson, whose movements were restricted while she stayed home to recuperate, felt pain for several months and "still feels sensitivity in the burned areas, which are now scarred," the suit says.
In 1994, a New Mexico civil jury awarded $2.86 million to Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns in her pelvic region when she accidentally spilled hot coffee in her lap after purchasing it from a McDonald's restaurant. Liebeck was hospitalized for eight days while she underwent skin grafting, followed by two years of medical treatment.
--City News Service