Hot Potato of a case!
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly writes that Massachusetts may have its very own hot-coffee lawsuit, compliments of a negligence complaint filed last month in Norfolk Superior Court against Dunkin’ Donuts.
The alleged trouble started on Jan. 14 when a mother and her 15-month-old boy entered the drive-through at a Quincy Dunkin’ Donuts.
According to papers filed by attorney Joseph K. Curran Jr., the mother, Robin MacLeod, ordered a container of hash browns, which she gave her son after determining that the crispy treats were lukewarm to the touch.
But Curran’s complaint contends that the interior portion of the hash browns was “dangerously hot and, as a result, unsafe for public consumption.”
Indeed, the youngster was so surprised by the piping-hot potato that he dropped it on his neck, where it “immediately became stuck to his skin,” the complaint states.
Curran, who practices at Curran & Desharnais in Weymouth, writes that it took only seconds for the potato pieces to severely burn and blister the boy’s skin, which caused permanent injuries to his neck and chin.
The seven-page complaint, which seeks $200,000, argues that employees at Dunkin’ Donuts should have expected that some customers could be injured by the product and that they had an obligation to prepare their breakfast delicacies in a safer manner.
It is on that point that Boston’s John Egan, a personal-injury defense lawyer who is not involved in the case, says Curran and his client face an uphill battle.
“The theory of how this accident occurred is just a little odd,” the Rubin & Rudman attorney says. “And in legal terms, you have to wonder whether this kind of incident was reasonably foreseeable to Dunkin’ Donuts.”
He also says the mother’s role in the incident could prove problematic.
“I know our cases say we are to instruct juries that an adult parent’s comparative negligence is not to be imputed to a minor plaintiff, but these cases get tried in front of real people,” Egan says. “There is no question in my mind that the jury appeal of this case is going to be negatively affected by the fact that this very young plaintiff is being fed this food by his mother at a drive-in Dunkin’ Donuts on a weekday morning. You can see what the image is.”
Read more at: Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly