Verdict Reached After Parents Sue McDonald’s For ‘Dangerously Hot’ McNugget That Allegedly Gave Their 4-Year-Old Second-Degree Burns

Florida parents sued McDonald’s for serving chicken nuggets which they claim were so hot they caused second-degree burns on their 4-year-old daughter’s leg. 

Plaintiffs Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez were in court this week stating their case. They said their daughter received severe burns to her thigh area in 2019 after a 200-degree McNugget fell in her lap from a Happy Meal box.

In a split jury, franchisee UpChurch Foods was found negligent while McDonald’s was not, according to court documents. The jury found that both the franchisee and McDonald’s failed to produce instructions for the food that would have prevented the girl’s injury, CBS News reported.

The family’s attorneys called the jury decision a “tremendous victory for a deserving family.”

“The reasonable, foreseeable, intended use is for a child to handle this box. The law implies a promise from a corporation to, in this case, a child,” their attorney Jordan Redavid told the court earlier this week, per The Daily Mail. “And if it’s preventable, it’s warnable, you should warn someone about it, and if you don’t do that then you’re liable.”

Holmes said she ordered the six-piece chicken McNuggets Happy Meal at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Tamarac, Florida, and handed the box back to her daughter in the backseat. The girl was then allegedly burned by the nugget, which her family said left the child “disfigured and scarred” after it remained on her leg for two minutes. 

Holmes described the events after she picked up the food during a pretrial deposition.

“As I’m pulling away out of the drive-thru I hear [Olivia] start to yell. But the time I make it to the street it’s a full blown scream,” she told the court, according to a transcript.

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“I turn around and she dropped the nugget in her lap. So I’m trying to drive and knock them out of her lap as I’m going down the street.” 

“So as soon as I was able I pulled over, I run to the back seat of the car and I got out the nugget that I could see and I then pulled off her seat belt across the lap; there was a chicken nugget that was stuck that I could not reach,” she said. 

“As I am taking the nugget off of her skin it’s falling apart in my hand. Her thigh — upper thighs — it was really, really red. She’s screaming, she’s yelling,” Holmes went on. Photos of the child’s injuries were displayed in court.

“Every once in a while, she looks at [the scar] and she refers to it as her chicken nugget,” Estevez said.

The family is seeking $15,000 in damages from McDonald’s and its franchise, Upchurch Foods, for negligence and poor training, the outlet noted. A jury will determine the amount of damages. 

“Our sympathies go out to this family for what occurred in this unfortunate incident, as we hold customer safety as one of our highest priorities. That’s why our restaurant follows strict rules in accordance with food safety best practices when it comes to cooking and serving our menu items, including Chicken McNuggets,” UpChurch Foods said in a statement

“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.

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