[An Indiana couple] have filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, accusing a [local] store of serving scalding hot chocolate that seriously burned their little girl.
Michael and Alexis Brennan filed the suit Tuesday in Marion Superior Court on behalf of their daughter, Rachel. Rachel’s age is not included in the lawsuit, but it says she was in a child restraint seat in the back seat of the family car Nov. 2, 2004, when Alexis Brennan went to the Starbucks at 116th Street and I-69.
Brennan ordered a child’s hot chocolate with whipped cream and an adult hot chocolate without whipped cream at the drive-through. According to the lawsuit, Starbucks’ policy is to serve child drinks at lower temperature than adult drinks to avoid kids getting burned.
Brennan handed her daughter the child drink, and as she pulled away from the window, it spilled into Rachel’s lap.
The child was “screaming in pain,” and her mother pulled over, got Rachel out and removed her clothes to find the “skin on Rachel’s leg was falling off of her.” She suffered serious burns that required repeated medical attention and could require more medical attention, the lawsuit said. The parents are seeking unspecified damages.
Obviously, the kinds of cases that get turned (by certain interest groups) into urban legends about the tort system can’t be easily predicted. Some facts about this case – Starbuck’s policy of usually not serving hot drinks to children, the uncomfortable fact that the victim is a child and not an adult, and the alleged severe burns suffered – all might combine to make it less likely that norm entrepreneurs will seize upon this case as an example of the system run amok. But you never know – I did find the case on the Drudge Report, after all.