Officer Who Sued Starbucks Over Free Spilled Coffee Learns His Fate

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A North Carolina jury decided not to make Starbucks pay damages to a Raleigh, North Carolina, police officer who spilled a cup of the chain's coffee on his lap.

Lt. Matthew Kohr and his wife, Melanie Kohr, sued Starbucks for $750,000 to reimburse for medical expenses that included surgery to remove part of Kohr’s intestine. Kohr had third-degree burns after the lid of his to-go cup popped off and the paper cup reportedly collapsed.

In accordance with the coffee company’s policy, Kohr received around 50 cups of free coffee over the course of two months for being a police officer before he received a faulty cup. To accept the drinks, Kohr paid for the coffee in tips, which he was required to do per his department's policy.

According to Kohr, who has Crohn's disease, the accident caused a massive flare-up. He was reportedly in and out of work and the hospital as a result of the burns. Kohr’s doctors also testified about the depression he suffered after the incident.

A manager from the coffee shop stated that all hot beverages served in the company's Venti cups were supposed to be presented with a protective sleeve or a secondary cup. Although neither of those protective actions were taken in Kohr’s case, the jury concluded that the mistake was not enough to make Starbucks pay damages. 

“We are pleased with the jury's decision as we believe our [employees] did nothing wrong,” Starbucks wrote in an email to WRAL. “The safety of our customers and partners will continue to be our top priority."

The verdict was reached after both sides agreed that a decision could be made by a majority of the jurors rather than all, reports ABC News. 

Sources: ABC NewsWRAL / Photo credit: WRAL

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