After a South Florida jury heard the story of a small girl who was seriously burnt when a Chicken McNugget dropped onto her leg while her mother was leaving the McDonald’s drive-thru, they decided to give the girl $800,000.
The mother’s videos of the burn and the child’s cries were presented in court.
According to a report, Olivia Caraballo’s ( age 4 when she was burnt in 2019) lawyers were asking for $15 million in damages. The jury had reached a decision after less than two hours of deliberation.
According to the jury’s judgment form, McDonald’s USA, with its franchiser Upchurch Foods, must pay $800,000 in damages over the course of the next four years. An unrelated jury in May found the firm and franchise owner responsible for the incident outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Tamarac, Florida.
Both sides agreed during the May trial that the nugget was responsible for the burn, but the family’s attorneys claimed the temperature was at least 200 degrees, whereas the defense team stated that it reached 160 degrees or less.
Reports show that Stella Liebeck, then 79 years old, was severely burned in 1992 after purchasing hot coffee from a McDonald’s drive-through.
Liebeck had ordered a hot drink while riding in her grandson’s automobile, but there were no cup holders available. She suffered third-degree burns when she tried to take the lid off her coffee cup while sitting in the parked vehicle, necessitating transplanted skin.
Liebeck first demanded that McDonald’s pay her around $20,000 in medical bills. She filed suit when McDonald’s countered with a $800 settlement offer. At trial, it came to light that McDonald’s had received over 700 similar complaints about burns caused by hot coffee before this case.
A jury decided in Liebeck’s favor, awarding her 2.7 million dollars in punitive damages and $160,000 for medical bills.
The trial court eventually lowered the punitive damages to $640,000.