Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez were awarded $800,000 by a jury in Broward County, Florida, after suing McDonald’s and one of its franchisees in May after their four-year-old daughter was allegedly burned by a chicken nugget in 2019.
The family will receive $400,000 for the injuries sustained by their daughter Olivia and an additional $400,000 for injuries and damages she will sustain in the future as a result of the incident. The counts on which they won the case proved that their daughter experienced “pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, discomfort and loss of ability to enjoy life”.
“This momentous decision marks a meaningful conclusion to a difficult and lengthy legal process. Having previously held the defendants, Upchurch Foods Inc and McDonald’s USA LLC, liable for their wrongful acts, this verdict reaffirms that they must now face the consequences and provide full justice.”, the family’s legal team said in a statement.
Original story below.
A couple from Florida sues McDonald’s for $15,000 after they claimed their 4-year-old daughter was burned by a chicken nugget in August 2019.
Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez are suing the fast food giant (on behalf of their daughter Olivia) after purchasing a Happy Meal box from a drive-thru in Tamarac, Florida.
The “dangerously hot” nugget reportedly fell out of the box and into the girl’s lap. A recording of her screams was played in court. Her family said she suffered second-degree burns to her leg from the food that left her “disfigured and scarred.”
“As I remove the clump of her skin, it falls apart in my hand,” said Holmes. “Her thigh – upper thighs – it was really, really red. She screams, she screams.”
The family is suing McDonald’s and Upchurch Foods, the owner of the franchise location where the incident took place, for failing to properly train employees on food safety and negligence.
The defendants allege that the McDonald’s employee should not have served the nuggets at such an “unreasonably and dangerously” high temperature, deeming them “defective, harmful and unfit for human treatment.”
“The reasonable, foreseeable, intended use is for a child to handle this box,” the family’s attorney, Jordan Redavid, said in court of the standard Happy Meal box. “The law implies a promise from a company to, in this case, a child. And if it’s preventable, it’s warnable. You have to warn someone about it, and if you don’t, you’re liable.”
McDonald’s released a statement to the Sun sentinel in response to the lawsuit stating that the company “respectfully disagrees with plaintiff’s allegations”.
Scott Yount, who represents McDonald’s, told the court there was “no negligence” on behalf of his client.
“Mrs. Holmes bought 32 chicken McNuggets that day. The evidence will show there was no problem with 31 of them,” he said.
About 30 years ago, in 1992, Stella Liebeck famously sued McDonald’s for burns she suffered after spilling hot coffee on her lap. She won the case and received $2.7 million from the jury for punitive damages.