Jury: Starbucks’ Free Coffee Not At Fault In Police Officer’s Burn Claims

May 11, 2015

A North Carolina jury has rejected a $750,000 civil lawsuit filed by Lt. Matthew Kohr of the Raleigh Police Department, who said a Starbucks store had given him a large cup of hot coffee with an unsecured lid.

Last week, Kohr’s attorney said the free cup of coffee spilled onto the officer’s lap because it didn’t have a properly attached lid or an insulating cardboard sleeve. Evidence submitted in court included photos showing red burn marks.

As local TV news WRAL reports, Kohr “said the trauma of the burn set off his Crohn’s disease, and he needed surgery to remove a portion of his intestine. He spent months on sick leave and struggled to return to work at his job as a lieutenant with the special operations division.”

The jury made its decision on a 10-2 vote; the parties had agreed to forgo a requirement for a unanimous decision.

After the verdict was announced, ABC 11 News reports, Kohr said: “I really appreciate their time, doing their civic duty, and helping us with our dispute. We thank everybody for the support and we’re looking forward to moving on and putting this behind us and moving forward.”

A Starbucks spokesman says:

“We are pleased with the jury’s decision as we believe our partners (employees) did nothing wrong. The safety of our customers and partners will continue to be our top priority.”

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