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  McDonald's Sued Over Spilled Coffee

The Associated Press
Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2001; 7:14 p.m. EST

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. –– A southern Illinois woman is suing a McDonald's owner, Wal-Mart, a cup maker and her own mother over spilled coffee she says was too hot.

Teresa Reed claims in the lawsuit against Short Enterprises, owner of the Murphysboro McDonald's, that a cup of coffee she bought at the drive-through window in 1998 spilled and scalded her ankle, allegedly leaving a permanent scar.

Reed said the coffee, which the suit alleged was "served at a temperature too hot for consumption and hot enough to scald the human body," spilled and burned her after she placed it in a cup holder in her mother's car.

The suit, filed last month, seeks $450,000 from Short Enterprises, as well as from cup maker Cobb Manufacturing and Wal-Mart, the manufacturer of the cup holder.

The suit also accuses Reed's mother of negligence, saying Carol Sanders "owed a duty of care for the safety of others riding in her vehicle."

No one at Short Enterprises or Wal-Mart immediately returned a telephone message left by The Associated Press. A telephone number for Cobb Manufacturing could not be located.

A jury awarded Stella Liebeck of New Mexico nearly $2.9 million in 1994 after she was burned by spilled McDonald's coffee two years earlier. A judge later reduced the punitive damages to $480,000, and she eventually settled for an undisclosed sum that was under $600,000.

Neither Reed nor Sanders could be reached for comment by The Associated Press. Their telephone numbers are not publicly listed.

Reed's attorney, Eric Long, was out of the office Tuesday and did not immediately return a phone call by The Associated Press.

© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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