Coffee Lawsuit Brews Up Trouble For Airline

  • Sumo
Caution: I'm Hot, by flickr user David Goehring, licensed by Creative Commons.

Java’s brewin’

I think it is safe to say that almost everyone has heard of the infamous McDonald’s coffee case, where the plaintiff received a healthy lump sum for suffering third-degree burns (some all the way to the bone) in her pelvic region when she spilled hot coffee.  Why is it that companies keep finding themselves in hot water with hot coffee? Lourdes Cervantes, who is a resident of Houston TX, filed suit against Continental Airlines over an incident of hot coffee. Cervantes was on her way to Newark NJ from Madrid on board Continental Airlines Flight 63 where a stewardess placed a cup of coffee on the tray in front of her lap. The complaint states that the passenger in seated ahead of Cervantes reclined his seat, causing the coffee to slide off of the tray table on her lap mid-flight.

This resulted in Cervantes having second-degree burns to her inner thighs, severe pain, permanent scarring of the affected areas, and the need for medical treatment. “She did suffer quite a bit of pain,” Cervantes’s attorney, Shaw Clifford, told KTRH. “What made it even worse is that Ms. Cervantes has multiple sclerosis, so when the coffee spilled on her she couldn’t get up. She just had to sit there and take it.”

According to the Montreal Convention, a 1999 treaty that established the laws that govern passengers while aboard an international flight, Cervantes can only sue a specific maximum amount. Because of bodily injuries, emotional injuries, and other damages Cervantes is seeking  for the amount of seeking $170,550. All in all, Continental Airlines have declined in making comments, citing pending litigation. When are companies going to take that extra step in safety for consumers when serving hot drinks? They need to look at all options of possible injury and be able to have some sort of prevention.