Starbucks Personal Injury Suit Gets Go-Ahead ~ OPOLAW Injury Blog

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Starbucks Personal Injury Suit Gets Go-Ahead

The Illinois Appellate Court is allowing a personal injury lawsuit against Starbucks to go ahead after overturning former Circuit Judge George Moran's previous decision to dismiss the suit. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student Molly Alter accused Starbucks of being responsible for her missing an entire semester of school after the lid came off her Starbucks coffee and the cup collapsed in on itself, causing hot coffee to burn both her hands. Alter also claimed that due to the burns, she was unable to use her hands in a metal smith program which put her graduate assistantship at risk and subsequently jeopardized her future earning capacity. Moran ruled that SIUE, where Alter purchased her coffee, is a state entity that has total control over the Starbucks. If Alter wished to pursue her case, she should go through the Illinois Court of Claims in Springfield. But Justice Richard Goldenhersh wrote, "The mere fact that the coffee was sold from a Starbucks store located on State property rather than a Starbucks located on private property should not protect Starbucks from liability if plaintiff can show that Starbucks breached its duty." He added, "Moreover, Starbucks cannot escape liability merely because the University voluntarily entered into a contract with Starbucks to reimburse and/or indemnify Starbucks in connection with any actions that may be brought against the Starbucks located on the University's campus."

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