‘Hot Coffee’ Redux: NC Jury Tosses Ridiculous Spilled Coffee Lawsuit Against Starbucks

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A North Carolina jury has tossed a lawsuit brought against Starbucks by a Raleigh cop who spilled hot coffee in his lap three years ago.

If that story sounds somewhat familiar to you, it should. A similar “hot coffee” lawsuit against McDonald’s back in 1994 became a poster child for ridiculous litigation.

In that infamous ridiculous lawsuit, the jury awarded the plaintiff an astonishing $3 million in damages after she spilled a cup of McDonalds’ coffee in her lap, though the parties later settled for a reduced, undisclosed amount.

In this case, Police Lt. Matt Kohr sought $750,000 in damages from Starbucks for serving him hot coffee that was, unsurprisingly,quite hot.  After receiving the cup, Kohr proceeded to spill the cup of java all over his legs and thighs when the lid popped off.

And all of this started with an act of generosity: Starbucks had given the officer the cup of coffee for free.  That’s right: Kohr sought $750,000 from Starbucks for spilling a gift all over his lap.  It seems that no good deed goes unpunished.

More than 20 years after the original hot coffee lawsuit — once described as the “poster child of excessive lawsuits” — it’s ridiculous that Starbucks had to pay the cost of taking this case to trial to defeat this ridiculous lawsuit.

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