Joanne Mogavero, a 43 year-old mother of three, says the lid popped off her 20-oz coffee as it was handed to her from the drive-thru window at a Starbucks in Jacksonville, Florida, in July 2014.
The 190ºF coffee spilled into her lap as she sat in her car, resulting in 1st- and 2nd-degree burns and scarring. Mogavero was forced to pay $15,000 in medical bills and filed a lawsuit in 2015.
Instead of claiming the coffee was too hot, lawyers accused Starbucks of selling flimsy lids that pop off when someone grabs the cup too high. Mogavero says they “failed to adequately” fasten the lid.
“Our hope with this is to raise people’s awareness that this is a real danger,” lawyers for Mogavero said.
During the trial, a Starbucks employee testified they receive about 80 complaints a month related to loose lids. Even so, Starbucks attorneys said it was not significant enough to provide warnings.
The jury determined that Starbucks was 80% responsible for her injuries and Mogavero was 20% responsible. She was awarded $15,492 for medical expenses, plus $85,000 for pain and suffering.
Starbucks unsuccessfully argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Mogavero was holding the cup of coffee when it spilled.
According to a spokesperson for Starbucks, “As we said in trial, we stand behind our store partners (employees) in this case and maintain that they did nothing wrong. We’re considering an appeal.”