Woman Sues Starbucks After Spilling Hot Tea On Herself And Dog

Published September 12, 2017
Published September 12, 2017

According to the suit, the dog later "succumbed to the injuries caused by the tea."

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Zhang Peng/ Getty Images

A Colorado woman is suing Starbucks over hot tea that she claims killed her dog, and gave her second-degree burns.

Deanna Salas-Solano drove through a Denver Starbucks back in 2015 and ordered a 20-ounce hot tea. She claims that the lid was not fully secured onto her cup and caused the spill.

In her lawsuit, filed on Friday, she states that the tea spilled onto her lap and was so hot that it melted through her clothes causing second-degree burns on her stomach and legs.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that as Salas-Solano was screaming in pain, her dog jumped into her lap, causing more of the hot tea to spill onto him. He was taken to an emergency vet, and later “succumbed to the injuries caused by the tea” according to the suit.

Salas-Solano was taken to a local medical center for severe burns and later underwent surgery to repair her burnt skin.

The lawsuit states that she was diagnosed with “two percent total body surface area second-degree burn injury to the abdomen and bilateral thighs,” and would later need skin grafts.

Starbucks has previously garnered complaints for failing to provide hot cup sleeves, and for improperly securing hot cup lids. The lawsuit states that Starbucks has a written policy to “double-cup” hot beverages.

However, the coffee corporation has said they are more than prepared to present their side of the story.

“We have video evidence that contradicts the claims made by the plaintiff and believe they are without merit,” Starbucks said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our case in court.”

“While we are sympathetic to Ms. Salas-Solano and the injuries she sustained, we don’t have any reason to believe our partner (employee) was at fault,” they continued.

The video shows Salas-Solano on her cell phone with her dog in her lap as she purchases the tea. Though the video was not conclusive, it also shows that the tea was covered by a hot sleeve with a secured lid.

Starbucks claims that it is hard to determine if the tea was spilled because of the cup’s temperature, by Salas-Solano being distracted by her cell phone, or whether the dog bumped into her as he stood in her lap.

If this lawsuit sounds familiar, that’s because it is. This isn’t the first coffee-spill-turned-lawsuit that’s garnered media attention.

In 1994, a New Mexico jury awarded $2.8 million to a 79-year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns across her pelvic region, after she spilled coffee in her lap. The woman would go on to win her case, however, the final verdict was later reduced to $640,000.

The current lawsuit claims Salas-Solano is suing Starbucks for more than $100,000.

Enjoyed this? Check out these Starbucks nutrition facts. Then, read about how the Pumpkin Spice trend took over fall.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting.