(RALEIGH, N.C.) — A North Carolina police officer who received a reportedly free cup of coffee while in uniform is suing Starbucks, claiming he burned himself when the hot beverage spilled on him after the cup allegedly collapsed in his grip.
This case is reminiscent of the infamous lawsuit filed against McDonald’s that won an injured customer $2.86 million in 1994.
This new lawsuit is playing out in a Raleigh courtroom and testimony is expected to begin later this week.
Matthew Kohr, who is a lieutenant for the special operations division of the Raleigh Police Department, received a cup of coffee at a local Starbucks branch in January 2012, according to the lawsuit obtained by ABC News.
When he went to pick up the cup, the lawsuit states, the lid popped up and the cup folded in on itself, spilling the hot coffee on Kohr’s thigh and groin area.
Kohr claims the burn aggravated his Crohn’s disease and caused him to have surgery that led to the removal of a portion of his large intestine, the lawsuit states.
The suit alleges he was not the only one who has suffered from the burn, because his wife has lost her “intimate partner,” ABC News station WTVD-TV reports.
A Starbucks spokesperson told ABC News the safety of their customers and employees “is our top priority,” and the company denied any wrongdoing.
“We believe our store partners did nothing wrong and are prepared to present our case at trial,” the spokesperson told ABC News.
The barista who served Kohr the coffee, the branch manager, and the paper cup company were all initially named as defendants in the case, but it has now been amended to name Starbucks as the only defendant.
Kohr and his lawyers did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment. They were expected to be in court on Tuesday during jury selection.
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