A 70-year-old Atlanta woman who suffered third-degree burns after coffee spilled on her while in the drive-thru of a Dunkin’ in Sugar Hill, Georgia, reached a $3 million settlement with the restaurant, the woman’s law firm Morgan & Morgan said in a press statement. The law firm said that the lid was allegedly not secured on the coffee cup, causing the spill.
The woman, whose name has not been made public, was visiting a Dunkin’ in Sugar Hill in February 2021 to purchase a cup of coffee, when the accident occurred, said Morgan & Morgan.
As a Dunkin’ employee handed the woman her the coffee, the lid came off of the cup spilling the coffee onto her lap and burning her skin. She suffered second and third-degree burns to her thighs, groin and abdomen and required extensive skin grafts.
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“America may run on Dunkin’, but our client had to re-learn how to walk due to the severity of her burns,” said the woman’s attorney Benjamin Welch in a statement.
Welch said his client’s burns were “so severe” that she spent weeks in the burn unit of a local hospital and that her life entirely changed after the incident, with her medical bills amounting to over $200,000.
“Walking still causes her pain, she can’t go out in the sun, and she must apply creams and ointments to her burns several times a day,” said Welch, adding that his client, who had retired from her position as a federal government employee shortly before the incident, continues to struggle with day-to-day activities.
The attorney added that the spill would never have happened if the drive-thru employee had properly secured the lid on the coffee cup.
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Lawsuit and settlement
A spokesperson for Morgan & Morgan told USA TODAY that their client had filed a lawsuit against the Dunkin’ franchisee, Golden Donuts, LLC, in the State Court of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Court records indicate that the tort case was filed on April 8, 2022.
Golden Donuts eventually agreed to an out of court settlement of $3 million, said the spokesperson. Court records show that the suit was dismissed October 19 after an out of court settlement between the parties.
Dunkin’ did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for a comment and statement.
“We hope this settlement sends a message to all restaurants and franchisees: this isn’t complicated; train your employees properly and prioritize customer safety,” said Morgan & Morgan founder John Morgan, in a statement.
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Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.