Lawsuit: Hot cup of Starbucks coffee scalded skin during spill

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Katherine Mize says a cup of hot coffee changed her life when a Starbucks employee handed it to her.

Katherine Mize of Houston says a cup of hot coffee changed her life when a Starbucks employee handed it to her.

"She handed it to me with her hand over the top and dropped it," she said. "I caught it and so it squooshed, the top had come off, and it squooshed all over everywhere and all over me. It was so hot that I jumped out of the car."

The burns were so severe, she says, she lost a month of work. The scars are still there.

"It is not reasonable to go buy a cup of coffee and get your skin scalded off of you," she said.

She is suing Starbucks and the employee who she says dropped the coffee on her and then did nothing to help her when she screamed in pain.

Her attorney, Brian Humphrey, says she tried other means of communicating with the company since the incident but had no success. That is why, reluctantly, they filed suit last week.

"If you make a mess you clean it up," said Humphrey. "If you injure somebody and it's your fault, you make it right. And if you don't, that's what the courts are for."

Starbucks has not yet responded to the lawsuit, which was filed last week, some two years after the incident.

A company spokesperson did issue a statement which read, "The health and safety of our customers and partners (employees) is always our top priority. We are evaluating the customer's claims and determining the appropriate next steps."

Mize says she knows the suit opens her up to criticism or ridicule. This is too important, she says, to let that stop her from seeking justice.

"If this had happened to a child or someone wearing shorts or someone with diabetes," said Mize, "I'm not sure they would have survived having their skin fall off of them and have no skin on you for a month."

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