A Colorado woman has sued coffee chain Starbucks after she said her hot tea was not properly secured and spilled onto her lap, leaving her with serious burns and killing her dog.
Deanna Salas-Solano, 58, ordered a "venti" hot tea at a drive-thru Starbucks in Denver in September 2015 as she was driving with her dog, Alexander, according to Fox News. According to Salas-Solano's lawsuit, the cup's lid wasn't properly fastened, allowing the scalding hot drink to spill out.
The lawsuit also says the tea's cup was not double-cupped, and did not have a hot drink sleeve, KDVR reports.
The tea "melted" through the woman's clothes, the lawsuit says, and left Salas-Solano with second-degree burns. The tea reportedly caused severe pain to her legs, lap and stomach.
After the tea scalded her, Alexander reportedly jumped into her lap, where the tea also scalded the dog.
Alexander was treated as an emergency veterinary hospital, but he was reported to have "ultimately succumbed to the injuries caused by the tea, dying a short time later," according to the suit.
Salas-Solano underwent surgery for her burns, and later needed skin grafts. According to the suit, the woman had "two percent total body surface area second-degree burn injury to the abdomen and bilateral thighs."
The lawsuit, which seeks more than $100,000, alleges that Starbucks had received complaints about unsecured lids and missing cup sleeves for hot beverages previously, and that the company had a written policy of double-cupping hot drinks like tea.
Starbucks said surveillance video doesn't line up with Salas-Solano's story.
"We have video evidence that clearly contradicts the claims made by the plaintiff and believe they are without merit. We look forward to presenting our case in court," said the company in a statement. "While we are sympathetic to Ms. Salas-Solano and the injuries she sustained, we don't have any reason to believe our [employee] was at fault."
In the video, which Starbucks has not released publicly, Salas-Solano reportedly uses her cellphone with Alexander in her lap while she orders the tea. The tea cup in the video does reportedly appear to have a hot cup sleeve, and the lid did appear secure but it isn't conclusive.
The video makes it unclear it the tea was spilled because of Salas-Solano's cellphone use, the dog bumping into her or the tea's temperature, reports KDVR.
According to the lawsuit, the "water temperature of the tea was unreasonably hot," even though Salas-Solano had not ordered an "extra hot" tea, reports The Denver Post.
Salas-Solano's lawsuit seeks damages for injuries including severe burns, emotional distress, lost wages, disfigurement and physical impairment.