Florida parents are suing a McDonald’s after their four-year-old daughter was allegedly burned by a piping-hot Chicken McNugget on her thigh, claiming that she is “disfigured and scarred” by it and they are seeking $15,000 in damages.
WPLG Local 10 reported that the mother, Philana Holmes, went through the drive-thru for a Happy Meal for the toddler. She took it from the cashier and handed it back to the child. The mother then heard screaming and reportedly discovered the child had been burned.
Holmes is claiming that the hot nugget got caught between the child’s thigh and seatbelt and was there for about two minutes.
Holmes and the girl’s father, Humberto Caraballo Estevez are seeking $15,000 in damages from McDonald’s on the grounds the restaurant served a chicken nugget that was “defective, harmful, and unfit for human handling.” It brings to mind a flashback of a woman suing McDonald’s because her coffee was too hot.
The lawsuit contends that on August 21, 2019, Holmes went to the McDonald’s drive-thru and ordered a six-piece Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal for her then-4-year-old daughter, Olivia Holmes.
“The Chicken McNuggets inside of that Happy Meal were unreasonably and dangerously hot (in terms of temperature) and caused Olivia Holmes’s skin and flesh around her thighs to burn,” the lawsuit asserts.
The family’s attorney, Jordan Redavid, told the court on Tuesday that McDonald’s and the franchisee failed to warn about the dangers of the hot nuggets and acted negligently in serving them. To make his point, he used a Happy Meal as a prop, presenting it to the judge.
“The reasonable, foreseeable, intended use is for a child to handle this box. The law implies a promise from a corporation to, in this case, a child,” he posited. “And if it’s preventable, it’s warnable, you should warn someone about it, and if you don’t do that then you’re liable.”
The attorney representing McDonald’s, Scott Yount, countered that claim.
“Ms. Holmes purchased 32 chicken McNuggets that day. The evidence will show that 31 of them, there was no problem with,” Yount claimed on Tuesday afternoon.
The attorney appears to be referring to all of the chicken nuggets purchased by her, not just the Happy Meal, which contained six nuggets that evidently fell into the child’s lap.
“In fact, Olivia dropped six on her lap, and she has one burn, and that’s the one location where the McNugget was trapped by the seatbelt for two minutes,” he noted. “The Chicken McNuggets are not defective, they are not unreasonably dangerous, they are not dangerously hot, and there is no negligence.”
During a pre-trial deposition, the mother described what happened when she picked up the food.
“As I’m pulling away out of the drive-thru I hear [Olivia] start to yell. By the time I make it to the street it’s a full-blown scream,” she testified, according to a transcript. “I turn around and she dropped the nugget in her lap. So I’m trying to drive and knock them out of her lap as I’m going down the street.”
“So as soon as I was able I pulled over, I run to the back seat of the car and I got out the nugget that I could see and I then pulled off her seat belt across the lap there was a chicken nugget that was stuck that I could not reach,” Holmes continued.
“As I am taking the nugget off of her skin it’s falling apart in my hand. Her thigh – upper thighs – it was really, really red. She’s screaming, she’s yelling,” she added.
The father also spoke during the deposition. He told the court that his daughter does not seem bothered by the scar but sometimes she mentions it.
“Every once in a while, she looks at [the scar] and she refers to it as her chicken nugget,” he stated.
A full video report can be seen here from WPLG Local 10 concerning the incident.
McDonald’s issued a statement about the case late Monday: “We take every complaint seriously and certainly those that involve the safety of our food and the experiences of our guests,” it said. “This matter was looked into thoroughly. Ensuring a high standard for food safety and quality means following strict policies and procedures for each product we cook and serve. Those policies and procedures were followed in this case and we therefore respectfully disagree with the plaintiff’s claims.”
The hearing is set to resume on Wednesday.
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