Woman Says Coffee Scalded Her, Sues Burger King

SKOKIE, Ill. (STMW) — A woman claims she was burned when she was handed coffee without a secured lid at a Burger King in north suburban Skokie, according to a suit filed Friday.

Magalys Garriga was a customer in the drive-through of a Burger King, located at 5315 W. Touhy Ave, on Aug. 26, 2009, when she ordered coffee and food items, according to a lawsuit filed in Cook County Court.

The suit claims that Garriga was handed coffee without the lid being securely placed on the cup, which spilled onto her body and severely burned her arm.

The lawsuit filed Friday is reminiscent of a famous 1990s lawsuit against McDonald’s, in which an elderly woman customer said she was seriously scalded by excessively hot coffee that she spilled on her lap. The case was ultimately settled out of court, but it fueled debate about the need for tort reforms in the legal system.

Garriga claims she immediately reported the incident to the store manager and sought medical attention.

Her suit claims that the unsecured hot coffee cup was unsafe to be served to Garriga and was reasonably foreseeable to cause harm to her. The suit also claims that employees were not properly trained to ensure that the coffee cups were properly secured and would not spill onto customers.

The two-count suit claims negligence and strict liability. The suit seeks more than $100,000 in damages and court costs.

Spokespeople for CH James Restaurant Holdings LLC, the owner of the Burger King franchise, and Burger King Corporation were not immediately available for comment Friday evening.

  • IL Mom

    Wow! How old is she? Amazing, a kindergarten student gets her face battered, upper jaw fractured, have three front teeth removed from her kindergarten class and be held hostage at school because all school members wanted to dump her on her school bus covered in blood with a fractured upper jaw and this ADULT gets to sue for being absent minded???????????

  • Charlie Sheen


  • IL Mom.....

    Whining is the correct spelling….Wining/

  • wujekartur

    She knows it is HOT
    IT even says on the cup that it is HOT COFEE

    • OLD VET


  • IL Mom

    Yes@wujekartur….It isays HOT COFFEE……

  • Jeff Brown

    Okay here is my new suggestion… All coffee orders are taken inside the fast food stores. You spill it on yourself then, you need real help. lol no more coffee from the drive up windows, How does this sound, since some can’t control a coffee cup……,

    • Tammy

      Love that idea! It’s really too bad things have to come to this… I get so angry when these frivilous lawsuits are filed. Obviously someone needing money – what a “quick” way to get it. What a shame

  • IL Mom

    Children (young children Kindergarten) can’t be protected from IL SCHOOL INJURIES OR BULLIES but HOT CUP COFFEE ABSENT MINDED ADULT gets to be awarded for her silly complaint!!!!!

  • jonk

    hey y’all, check out the new movie HOT COFFEE, it debunks the “myth” about the famous McDonald’s lawsuit. the elderly lady in that suit who sued McDonald’s had the most disturbing burns that basically ate away her flesh of her groin and upper thighs. she was willing to settle for McDonalds to just cover her medical expenses but they were jerks about it and wouldn’t stop low-balling her – thoroughly disgusting legal maneurvering from McD’s (but of course we’d expect that). that suit showed how many serious burns had resulted from excessively hot coffee spills – basically they are serving scalding hot water to you. the film HOT COFFEE shows how a small group of neo-conservative types made “tort reform” an issue.

    • My own 'big brother'

      And if you ask for a knife to cut your steak you can sue when you cut yourself because the knife was ‘too sharp’? What does the temp of HOT coffee have to do with someone spilling it on themselves? This elderly lady put the coffee cup between her legs while she was driving to add her cream and/or sugar. Can we all learn how to say ‘personal responsibility’?

  • Gimme Sumfin'

    The suit gets filed TWO YEARS after the incident? I once had a bad footlong at Franksville across from Wrigley Field in ’67. Maybe it’s time to get litigious on they ess?

  • IL Mom

    IL Schools also don’t pay medical bills for serious injuries……SOOOO IL schools are excused for not paying medical bills for serious school injuries( Local school district is included in the CORPORATION each village has of its employees) BUT a CORPORATION CALLED MCDonalds MUST PAY MEDICAL BILLS?……!!!!!

  • IL Mom

    IL Parents with children in Public Schools understand your child could be injured at school ON SCHOOL GROUNDS and not have their Constitutional Rights addressed for SAFETY and to be DENIED protection too…..

  • try to find me

    that woman not stupid she’s just flat out dumb as hell she opened that coffee in her car and was driving while trying to drink it and why the hell is she buying hot coffee on a hot day sounds real dumb to me i hope she don’t get a dime because everybody knows that hot coffee is hot not cold and to pull off while dring it is a real no no maybe she will learn not to take the lid off and drive away at the same time she burned her self and for that she deserves to be burned and pay her own medical bills stop trying to file a lawsuit for you stupidity

    • Roberta Waker

      What doesn’t sound right to me is she said she immediately reported the incident to the store manager. This means after the hot coffee was spilled and burned her so severely, she had the presence to drive to a parking space, park, walk into the BK and ask for the manager. If she was handed a cup of hot coffee without a secured lid, it would have spilled on her immediately and she would have screamed bloody murder, in which case the BK employee that handed her the coffee would have known there was a problem immediately. Sounds kind of fishy, doesn’t it?

  • Green Grass Grover

    IL Mom needs to drink a lot less coffee! Seriously, BK…make sure you put the lid ON the coffee before you hand it to people. This lady isn’t suing for mega-dollars, and if someone handed me a cup of coffee through a drive-thru window, I would also assume the lid is on securely.

    I side with the customer here.

    • Roberta Waker

      How do you KNOW the lid wasn’t secured? All you have is the word of the woman looking for megabucks, who is probably lying through her teeth because she probably tried to drink the coffee as soon as she got it. Once you take possession of a hot beverage, YOU (the customer) are responsible for any injuries. Give her $1,500; her attorney gets 1/3 and she can buy salve for her “burns”.

  • IL Mom

    Assume equals that old saying but I will not post the famous saying of A that stands for@@@U and me…….I am certain the other posters know what the famous ASSUME expression is GGG…..

  • Mom

    Nobody should be making money off of this, but I will say there is no reason to serve takeout coffee so hot it blisters the skin. The lady next to me on a plane was wearing shorts and showed me part of the burn she got when the airline stewardess on the plane dropped a cup of extremely hot coffee on her during her flight a week earlier. Her skin was blistered, and some of it open and oozing. It also burned her groin region and ruined her entire beach vacation. It was over a large area, gross, and I couldn’t believe you could get that injured from a cup of coffee.

    • Roberta Waker

      If the stewardess dropped the coffee on a customer and caused serious burns; the airlines should compensate the customer for her medical bills, clothes, pain and suffering and offer her a free flight with a vacation to the same destination that she couldn’t enjoy because of their carelessness. In the case of BK,, the woman was HANDED the coffee and was responsible for it once she accepted it from the drive up window, so she should NOT be compensated for her own stupidity. We only have her word that the lid wasn’t on properly and she could be lying to get money. Bottom line just might be to NOT serve any hot beverages. PERIOD.

  • Roberta Waker

    Maybe McD, BK and everyone else that serves hot beverages like coffee should STOP SERVING HOT BEVERAGES. Let people serve themselves; then THEY will be totally responsible for any injuries. If they can’t serve themselves, they don’t get a hot beverage and they can personally find and thank Ms. Garriga.

  • Mom

    IL Mom & Roberta – I don’t know how you were able to make more than one post, as I tried to make a SECOND post and got a message I was posting things too fast and should slow down. It didn’t post my comment. I think I’m being censored for no reason. There was nothing inappropriate in the comment.

    • Roberta Waker

      I don’t know either, but if you check my posting times there is less than 10 minutes between posts, while IL Mom has a lot more time between her posts. Maybe because one is a reply and one is a post there isn’t a problem??? Try that, if you can, and see if it works for you.

  • dh

    she did not know the coffee did not have a secure lid? cmon man. she was obviously disracted on her cell phone etc not to notice. what bull%^&$

  • J.E.

    The D.O.J have OKA’ed the use of torture to help fabricate evidence.

    The Department of Justice use torture to make suspects look unstable and therefor play into hands of jurors and conjured witnesses. Humiliation, drugging, sleep deprivation, stress positions, threats of physical violence, harassing relatives, etc… are commonly used.

  • rgcomega

    Apparently some spilled on her brain too.

  • CBS

    Give her a free whopper

  • Lisa Ladonski

    “The suit also claims that employees were not properly trained to ensure that the coffee cups were properly secured and would not spill onto customers.”

    How much training is necessary to teach employees to secure a lid? Step 1: Press the lid on top of the cup. Step 2: There is no step 2.

    I feel that when you get a drink in the drive thru, you should 1. Grab it by the sides of the cup instead of the top where the lid is at, and 2. Place it immediately in your cup holder. If you have to add cream or sugar, then add it while it’s in the cup holder. This will help you avoid getting injured by your drink.

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