McDonald’s is being held liable after a Florida kid ended up with second-degree burns when the restaurant’s too-hot chicken nuggets fell on her lap four years ago. On May 11, a jury in Broward County ruled against the fast food chain, according to NBC News.
The child’s parents prevailed after filing a lawsuit against Upchurch Foods, which is the franchise operator, as well as McDonald’s USA. On Thursday, the jury ruled that Upchurch was negligent, failing to warn customers about the risk of the food’s temperature. They added that McDonald’s USA failed to give instructions on how to safely handle the food. A second jury will later decide the dollar amount the family will receive.
In her testimony, Philana Holmes said she took her son and daughter to a McDonald’s restaurant in Tamarac, Florida, and purchased Happy Meals for them at the drive-thru window before giving the food to her children in the back seat of her car and driving away. The Florida mother said she heard her daughter screaming when the chicken fell on her legs, then saw the burn after she pulled over to check on her child. Holmes’ daughter Olivia, who is autistic, did not testify in court was four years old at the time of the incident.
The lawyers on behalf of McDonald’s stated that the food needed to be hot to prevent salmonella poisoning. They also said the nuggets shouldn’t have been sitting between a seat belt and the child for more than two minutes. Olivia’s parents, on the other hand, said the company failed to train its employees appropriately. They also said the restaurant didn’t alert consumers about the danger of the food’s temperature, and there was no need for the nuggets to be as hot as they were. According to them, the temperature of the nuggets was likely above 200 degrees. McDonald’s, however, said the temperature wasn’t more than 160 degrees.
McDonald’s USA issued a statement after hearing the verdict. “This was an unfortunate incident, but we respectfully disagree with the verdict,” the iconic food chain wrote at the time. “Our customers should continue to rely on McDonald’s to follow policies and procedures for serving Chicken McNuggets safely.”