McDonald’s Is in the Hot Seat

QSR sued again for ‘severe burns’ from spilled hot coffee.

September 21, 2023

A San Francisco McDonald’s is being sued by an elderly woman who allegedly suffered severe burns from spilling a scalding cup of coffee, reports CNBC News.

Mable Childress, 85, filed the lawsuit on September 14, claiming that employees of a San Francisco McDonald’s breached their “duty of care” after failing to secure a coffee cup lid, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

The reports allege that while in the drive-thru, Childress was handed a coffee with the lid not properly secured, causing the hot coffee to spill onto her stomach, groin and legs.

According to the report, Childress attempted to report the incident to the staff, speaking to three employees who “ignored” and “refused to help her,” and after an hour, she went to the emergency room.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Dylan Hackett, Childress’ attorney, said, “What it comes down to is negligence on the part of McDonald’s.” He then added that the incident left Childress with scarring, physical and emotional pain, as well as a slew of medical expenses.

Peter Ou, the owner and operator of the San Francisco franchise location, responded to’s request for comment via email.

“My restaurants have strict food safety protocols in place, including training crew to ensure lids on hot beverages are secure,” his statement reads. “We take every customer complaint seriously—and when Ms. Childress reported her experience to us later that day, our employees and management team spoke to her within a few minutes and offered assistance. We’re reviewing this new legal claim in detail.” 

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