Florida Jury Awards $800,000 to Girl Severely Burned by McNugget

**South Florida Jury Awards $800,000 in Damages to Girl Burned by Hot Chicken McNugget**

A South Florida jury has awarded $800,000 in damages to a young girl who received second-degree burns when a hot Chicken McNugget fell on her leg. The incident occurred as her mother was leaving the drive-thru of a McDonald’s restaurant. The jury reached their verdict after deliberating for less than two hours.

**Family’s Claim for $15 Million in Damages**

Lawyers representing the family of Olivia Caraballo, who was 4 years old at the time of the incident in 2019, were seeking $15 million in damages. However, the jury decided to award $800,000 in total damages. $400,000 was allotted for the past four years, and another $400,000 for future damages. The damages were assigned to McDonald’s USA and its franchise operator, Upchurch Foods.

**Mother’s Response to Verdict**

Olivia’s mother, Philana Holmes, expressed her satisfaction with the jury’s decision. She stated that she was happy that Olivia’s voice was heard and that a fair judgment was reached. Holmes also mentioned that Olivia, now 8 years old, refers to the scar on her inner thigh as her “nugget” and is determined to have it removed.

**McDonald’s Defense Argument**

McDonald’s defense lawyers argued that the child’s discomfort ended when the wound healed, which they claimed took about three weeks. They contended that the girl’s mother, not Olivia, was the one with the problem regarding the scar. The defense proposed that $156,000 should cover both past and future damages.

**Holmes’ Testimony**

Holmes testified that she had bought Happy Meals for her son and daughter, with Olivia sitting in the back seat. As she was driving away, the nugget fell on Olivia’s leg, causing her to scream in pain. When Holmes pulled over, she discovered that the nugget was lodged between Olivia’s thigh and the seat belt.

**Lack of Warning from McDonald’s**

During her testimony, Holmes mentioned that McDonald’s had not warned her about the food being unusually hot. The company argued that they follow food safety regulations, which require McNuggets to be hot enough to avoid salmonella poisoning. They claimed that what happens with the food after it leaves the drive-thru window is beyond their control.

**Disagreement on Temperature**

Though both sides agreed that the nugget caused the burns, they disagreed on the temperature of the nugget. The family’s lawyers argued that it was above 200 degrees (93 Celsius), while the defense argued that it was no more than 160 degrees (71 Celsius).

**Evidence Presented in Court**

To support their case, the family’s lawyers presented photos of the burn as well as sound clips of Olivia’s screams in court.

**Recalling the McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit**

This case may remind people of the famous McDonald’s coffee lawsuit from the 1990s. Stella Liebeck, an 81-year-old woman, was scalded by hot coffee from McDonald’s in 1992. She suffered third-degree burns on her legs, groin, and buttocks as she tried to steady the cup with her legs while removing the lid. A New Mexico jury awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages, which were later reduced to $480,000 by a judge.

In conclusion, a South Florida jury has awarded $800,000 in damages to a young girl who suffered second-degree burns from a hot Chicken McNugget. The verdict was reached after a short deliberation period. The family had initially sought $15 million in damages. The case may evoke memories of the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit of the 1990s.

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