In a distressing incident that unfolded at a Tamarac McDonald’s drive-thru, Philana Holmes purchased a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal to satiate her hungry child. Little did she expect that the contents of the meal would prove to be dangerously hot. Tragically, Holmes’ daughter suffered second-degree burns, resulting in an agonizing experience that has prompted her parents to take legal action against the fast-food giant.
Holmes, accompanied by the injured child’s father, Humberto Caraballo Estevez, has filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s, citing negligence and improper training as the primary causes of their toddler’s injuries. They hold both the corporate entity and the franchise operator, Upchurch Foods, responsible for failing to ensure customer safety by serving scorching hot chicken nuggets to young children.
The courtroom in Broward, Florida witnessed an emotional scene as the 4-year-old victim’s screams echoed through the halls. The plaintiffs’ attorneys presented their compelling opening arguments, asserting that the franchise owner should have been aware of the potential dangers associated with serving excessively hot food through the drive-thru window. They further contend that McDonald’s corporation should have implemented stricter safety standards to protect children from burns while consuming their hot food orders.
However, defense lawyer Scott Yount countered these claims, stating that McDonald’s should not be held liable for the unfortunate incident. Yount argued, “Chicken McNuggets are designed to be eaten, not to be pressed against the thigh of a 4-year-old girl for two minutes.”
The chicken nugget responsible for the burns became wedged between the girl’s thigh and the seatbelt, prolonging contact and resulting in second-degree burns and lasting scars that continue to afflict the young victim.
McDonald’s released a statement regarding the case, asserting their commitment to taking all complaints seriously and ensuring the safety of their food and guests. The company conducted a thorough investigation into the matter and maintains that they followed their stringent policies and procedures for food safety and quality. As a result, they respectfully disagree with the plaintiff’s claims.
During the trial, witness Ralph Fernandez, acting as a liaison between the franchise owner and McDonald’s USA, testified that Chicken McNuggets are cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which is maintained until the food is served. This temperature is crucial to guarantee the food is fully cooked.
In response to plaintiff’s lawyer John Fischer’s question about whether the temperature is hot enough to cause burns, Fernandez clarified that it is not the intended outcome.
The trial, presided over by Broward Circuit Judge David Haimes, is expected to be relatively brief, focusing primarily on determining McDonald’s responsibility for the injuries inflicted upon the young girl. If the family prevails in the case, a second trial will ensue to assess the appropriate damages to be awarded.