It seems that a Florida family, Philana Holmes, and Humberto Caraballo Estevez, decided to take legal action against McDonald’s after their 4-year-old daughter allegedly suffered second-degree burns from a scorching chicken nugget.
According to court documents, the incident occurred back in 2019 when Holmes ordered a six-piece chicken McNuggets Happy Meal from a McDonald’s drive-thru in Tamarac, Florida. She handed the box to her daughter in the backseat, and that’s when things took a painful turn. A 200-degree McNugget supposedly fell onto the little girl’s lap, causing severe burns to her thigh area.
During the court proceedings, the split jury found franchisee UpChurch Foods negligent while McDonald’s was not held liable. However, both the franchisee and McDonald’s were deemed responsible for failing to provide clear instructions on handling the food, which could have prevented the unfortunate injury. The family’s attorneys hailed this as a “tremendous victory for a deserving family.”
In a heartfelt statement, the family’s attorney, Jordan Redavid, argued that the corporation had an implied promise to ensure the safety of their products, especially when it came to children. He pointed out that if an incident like this is preventable, then a proper warning should have been given.
Holmes, in a pretrial deposition, shared her account of the events that unfolded after leaving the drive-thru. As she drove away, she heard her daughter, Olivia, start to yell in pain. Panicked, Holmes tried to knock the nuggets off Olivia’s lap while driving down the street. Eventually, she pulled over and assessed the situation. She was able to remove one nugget but struggled with another that was stuck. The child’s thigh was visibly red and injured.
During the court proceedings, photos of Olivia’s injuries were presented, and the family claimed that the burns had left a lasting scar. Now, the family seeks $15,000 in damages from both McDonald’s and its franchise, UpChurch Foods. The amount will be determined by the jury. McDonald’s expressed sympathy for the family and emphasized their commitment to customer safety. UpChurch Foods defended its adherence to strict food safety protocols.
“We are deeply disappointed with today’s verdict because the facts show that our restaurant in Tamarac, Florida did indeed follow those protocols when cooking and serving this Happy Meal. Our community here in South Florida should remain confident that we will continue serving safe and high-quality meals, just as we’ve done for more than 50 years at Upchurch Management restaurants.”
“Our customers should continue to rely on McDonald’s to follow policies and procedures for serving Chicken McNuggets safely,” McDonald’s said in a separate statement.