The $800K McNugget: A Legal Discussion
Society has gone soft, some folks claim, especially on the interwebs. Can you imagine if any of these folks had to deal with a late 80’s McDonald’s apple pie that, prior to being passed through the drive thru window was used to temper rolled steel with?
In all seriousness though, where was the adult supervision here post-drive thru window? Nevertheless, here are the particulars:
A Broward jury has awarded $800,000 in damages in a lawsuit that alleged hot chicken McNuggets from a local McDonald’s franchise left a young girl severely burned.
A jury in May delivered a split verdict in the suit, finding fault with McDonald’s and the franchise owner for the burns then 4-year-old Olivia Caraballo suffered when she went to the Tamarac fast food restaurant back in 2019.
After hearing closing arguments Wednesday, a jury deliberated for just two hours over how much money the family should receive for the child’s pain and suffering, and quickly reached the $800,000 amount.
Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez, the parents of Olivia Caraballo, sued the McDonald’s Corporation and the franchisee Upchurch Foods, Incorporated, also known as Upchurch Management, claiming the girl suffered second-degree burns from the “unreasonably and dangerously” hot nuggets in her “Happy Meal.”
One nugget got stuck in her car seat and burned the child’s leg, the suit said.
“I’m actually just happy they listened to Olivia’s voice and she, the jury was able to decide a fair judgement, I’m happy with that,” Holmes said Wednesday.
The family had been asking for $15 million, but their attorneys called the outcome “fair and just.”
This is the latest in the now-long tradition of McLitigation that really got rolling in the modern era with the infamous “hot coffee” McDonalds lawsuit. But that case had a lot more going on than folks remember, when 79-year-old Stella Liebeck burnt herself so badly with her Mickey D’s cup of joe she was in the hospital for eight days. At trial, McDonald’s was shown to know they kept their coffee much hotter than standard coffee machines, along with other testimony. Thus, Stella got paid, and folks got to react to the headlines without all the facts.
So, is a second degree burn on a kid’s leg from a lodged McNugget worth $800K? This jury seemed to think so.