Burger King sued over coffee spill

Saturday, December 14, 2002

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- An Oklahoma woman isn't just crying over spilled coffee. She is suing Burger King for third-degree burns suffered when the cup lid gave way and dumped the hot liquid in her lap.

Donna Aslanis claims Burger King is negligent for injuries to her legs, thighs, buttocks and genitalia after she spilled coffee purchased in 1998 from a restaurant drive-through window in Rolla.

The civil lawsuit filed Dec. 5 in Greene County seeks more than $25,000 for medical expenses and other costs resulting from the burns.

"People think, 'She got burned by a cup of coffee, how bad can it be?'" Aslanis' attorney Steven Paulus said Friday. "But when you look at the pictures, it's God-awful what happened to her."

The suit is similar to one against the McDonald's fast food chain brought by an 82-year-old New Mexico woman, who settled for an undisclosed amount in 1994 after suffering third-degree burns from hot coffee.

Paulus blamed a defective cup lid for the injuries to Aslanis, who is now 52 and lives in Oklahoma City.

Kim Miller, a spokeswoman with Burger King's Miami corporate headquarters, said the company had not yet been served with the lawsuit and could not respond to specific allegations.

She said Burger King employees are careful to properly cover cups of hot coffee. The chain also takes steps to ensure customers know the coffee is hot.

"We have the word 'hot' in multiple languages on the cups," Miller said.

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