Police Officer Sues Starbucks For Free Coffee Spilled On Lap

Police Officer Sues Starbucks For Free Coffee Spilled On Lap
Starbucks, We Proudly Brew It Sean Winters / Flickr CC By-SA 2.0

A Raleigh police officer and his wife are suing Starbucks for $50,000 worth of damages, attorney fees and medical costs resulting from a free coffee that spilled in his lap on January 2012. The wife is also suing because she claimed she lost a source of emotional support during the time her husband was suffering emotional damage brought by the accident.


Burns, blisters and emotional damage

Lawyers for police officer Matthew Kohr said their client should be compensated for the burns, blisters and emotional damage he incurred because of the incident, WRAL reported. His wife also lost a “source of emotional support, her social companion and her intimate partner,” the lawsuit stated.

Kohr said that in January of 2012, Starbucks gave him a free coffee. However, the lid popped off the cup and the cup folded in on itself. He said he poured water on the burn as first aid, but the pain increased. The incident also aggravated his Crohn’s disease that he had to undergo a surgery to remove a portion of his intestine.

Lawyers for Starbucks argued that since the coffee was free, the incident is not covered by the same warranty given to purchase coffee. They also said that in about four billion cups of coffee served by Starbucks in a year, there had only been 59 customers who experienced the same.

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Starbucks lawsuit for spilled coffee is surprising

Other Starbucks customers said that the lawsuit from the police officer struck them as surprising.

“It’s a tough predicament. I think, when something like that happens, especially given that it was a free cup of coffee. I think, you know, they are trying to go out of their way and do something good for somebody whose putting their life in the line of duty every day,” Max Isaacson told Eyewitness News.

“It’s easy to sue anyone for anything these days. The fact that he dropped hot coffee in his lap, he needs to take responsibility for his actions,” customer Amber Mohammad said.

A spokesperson for Starbucks said the company has always prioritized the safety of its customers.

“At Starbucks, the safety of our customers and partners (employees) is our top priority and we take our obligation to provide safe products very seriously,” Starbucks said in a statement obtained by Eyewitness.

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