Ontario Court of Appeal Ruling
A Starbucks employee has landed in hot water in a lawsuit after a recent ruling of th
e Ontario Court of Appeal allowing a Brampton, Ontario teenager to proceed with her lawsuit against Starbucks, the store manager and the barista for negligence over a scalding incident that took place in 2015. In the suit, the Plaintiff alleges that the employee negligently poured hot water on her hands, causing impairment and permanent injuries.
Coffee chain lawsuits
While the latest scalding lawsuit against a coffee chain is not news, this decision is quite significant for Ontario workers and their employees. The decision makes it very clear that when someone is injured as a result of employee negligence, that employee can be held liable.
In the December 22, 208 ruling, the three-judge panel offered a ruling in the lawsuit that Starbucks and its employees, “failed to take re
asonable or any care at all to ensure that the Plaintiff would be reasonably safe while attending Starbucks,” and to “prevent injury… which they knew or ought to have known.” It stated further that Starbucks employed, “incompetent servants or agents and/or staff to ensure the safety of the Plaintiff,” and failed to “instruct properly… their employees in proper methods and procedures to be used to regulate water temperatures and handle hot beverages. “
This new ruling rejects an earlier agreement to strike the statement of claim against the barista and store manager. At that time, the lower court judge wrote, “The general rule remains that the employees are not liable for what they do within in the scope of their authority on behalf of their corporation.”
In the 2015 incident, The Plaintiff asked the barista to fill a baby bottle with warm water. According to the Plaintiff’s statement, the employee filled the bottle with scalding hot water and spilled water on her hands causing severe and permanent injuries.
It remains to be seen whether or not any judgement will be enforced against the employee herself since Starbucks is such a large corporation that was likely insured at the time of the alleged incident.
Lawsuits against coffee shops
Nonetheless, scalding suits continue to emerge; sometimes legitimate cases and sometime urban lore partly on account of the now famous 1994 case against McDonalds in New Mexico. The case, which was examined in a 2011 documentary, awarded a woman close to $3 million in damages after she spilled hot coffee on herself.
If you have been injured by the carelessness of a store employee or due to another person’s negligence, please take the time to call us to learn about your rights. We understand, we care and we are here to help.
Accident on an escalator or elevator injury …
An elevator injury or escalator injury can be devastating. Elevator or escalator injuries have transformed the lives of millions of people around the world by enhancing their mobility and independence, a convenience that cannot be overlooked. Yet, people still feel uncomfortable using them at times and worry about safety.
An elevator injury is more common than an escalator injury with 7,300 escalator and 9,800 elevator injuries requiring hospitalization in the United States each year. In most cases, injuries happen as a result of result of slips and falls. So, it’s no surprise that children and the elderly are the most vulnerable.
People of all ages and abilities use elevators and escalators every day in shopping centers, apartment buildings, offices and transit stations each person using them in a different way.
When using elevators and escalators, follow these safety rules to avoid an elevator injury:
· Watch the direction of the moving step and step on and off with extra care.
· Take care if you are wearing bifocals or similar eyewear.
· Hold children firmly with one arm or hold child’s free hand.
· Hold small packages firmly in one hand, but always leave one hand available to hold the handrail.
· Do not go in the opposite direction of the escalator.
· Do not try to stop a closing door with anything including hands, feet, canes, etc. Wait for the next elevator.
· Watch your step, and enter and exit carefully.
· Hold children and pets firmly.
· Stand clear of the doors, and keep clothes and carry-ons away from the opening.
· Hold onto the handrail if one is available.
When injuries do occur, it may be difficult to prove who is liable. The manufacturers, maintenance companies and building owners will first want to prove that the elevator or escalator was used properly – handrails were used, the rider did not engage in reckless behaviour. However, accidents do happen because of faulty products, poor building design or lack of maintenance.
If someone is injured on an escalator or elevator as a result of poor design, the victim could file a liability suit against the manufacturer. When the injury can be attributed to poor building maintenance, failures in inspections or other unsafe conditions, the victim could hold the building owner responsible for failing to keep them safe under the Occupiers’ Liability Act.