Philana Holmes stopped at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Tamarac, Florida, and purchased a Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal for her daughter, Olivia, who was sitting in the backseat.
But Holmes heard her then-four-year-old daughter crying in pain and turned around to discover her daughter’s leg had been severely burned, according to the family’s complaint.
When the mother drove into a parking lot, she saw that one of Olivia’s Happy Meal McNuggets had reportedly dropped and stuck itself between her leg and her car seat, scorching her thigh.
Humberto Carabello Estevez, Holmes and Olivia’s father, decided to sue McDonald’s Corporation and the franchisee Upchurch Foods Incorporated for failing to notify the mother that the meal was ‘unreasonably and dangerously hot,’ alleging the nugget’s temperature registered a staggering 200 degrees.
But attorneys representing the fast food restaurant contended that the nuggets would have been no hotter than 160 degrees.
Olivia was also said to have received second-degree burns as a consequence of the fallen nugget, leaving her thigh ‘disfigured and scarred,’ according to the complaint.
The mother also documented the injuries with images and audio recordings of Olivia’s cries, which were both shown in court.
The family first requested $15 million, stating that Olivia deserved the amount for the suffering the act brought her in the past and would continue to inflict on her in the future.
McDonald’s replied by paying $156,000 and claiming that Holmes had a scar problem, despite Olivia apparently saying she’d still go to McDonald’s and get nuggets despite the event.
The jury held McDonald’s responsible for failing to warn or reveal instructions on how to manage its hot nuggets and Upchurch Foods Inc. accountable for failing to notify consumers of the hazards connected with hot food, as well as being negligent.
Nevertheless, McDonald’s was not determined to be at fault for Olivia’s burn.
Olivia and her parents were eventually awarded $800,000 in compensation for pain and suffering, deformity, mental anguish, annoyance, and loss of ability for enjoyment of life.
This momentous decision brings meaningful closure to a difficult and protracted legal process, Olivia’s family’s attorney said in response to the jury’s decision. Having previously found the defendants, Upchurch Foods Inc and McDonald’s USA LLC, to be liable for their actions, this verdict emphasizes that they must now face the consequences and provide full justice. Despite years of rejecting any fault and, during this trial, trying to minimize the extent of Olivia’s suffering in the eyes of the community, their attempts have been surpassed by the jury’s decision.
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