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Woman sues Tim Hortons for $500K after spilled hot tea leaves her ‘disfigured’

WorldAmericas and CanadaWoman sues Tim Hortons for $500K after spilled hot tea leaves her 'disfigured'

Warning: This story contains graphic images that may be disturbing to some readers.

An Ontario woman and her family have launched a civil lawsuit seeking $500,000 in damages from Tim Hortons after a “superheated” tea allegedly caused second-degree burns to her abdomen, genitals and legs.

“What should have been an everyday incident has had very serious consequences,” said the Toronto lawyer. Gardiner Roberts LLP, Gavin Tighetold CTV News Toronto on Saturday.

Tighe is representing Jackie Lansing, 73, who ordered a 14-ounce cup of hot black tea on May 18, 2022, using the drive-thru in Huntsville, Ont. Tim Hortons, according to the statement of claim filed on behalf of Lansing and reviewed by CTV News Toronto.

It is alleged in the documents that Lansing was handed her tea at a “superheated, scalding” temperature in a “single cup” that “immediately collapsed on itself.”

“As a result, approximately 14 ounces of hot liquid was spilled on Ms. Lansing’s abdomen and legs,” their claim reads. “The tea provided was a hazard rather than a drink.”

Tigh said the spill left her with severe, second-degree burns on her lower body. “To this day, the heavy trail is an issue,” he said.

The cup that contained the ‘scalding’ tea was served to Lansing. (Gardiner Roberts LLP)

In December, Lansing and his daughter launched a lawsuit against Tim Hortons, alleging the chain was negligent. Within her statement of claim, Lansing claims that the cup she was provided with was defective, that the tea was heated to an inappropriate temperature, and that the staff failed to exercise reasonable care and that she was compensated for the cup’s deficiencies. warned about.

Lansing’s daughter is seeking damages Family Law Act of OntarioClaiming that she has not been able to maintain her former level of care for her disabled child, as well as overseeing her mother’s recovery.

A statement of defense filed on behalf of TDL Group Corp., Tim Hortons’ licensing company, and Greenwood Enterprises Inc., the operator of the franchise, denies any alleged negligence and argues that all duties of care and service were met. What standards were they met. Instead, it blames Lansing and outlines the “perceived risk” when ordering a hot beverage.

“She was the author of her own misfortune,” it read.

When reached for comment, a representative for Tim Hortons told CTV News Toronto that the company was unable to provide further details while the matter is before the courts.


Tighe said that after the spill, Lansing sought medical attention at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare.

“She had to go to the emergency department immediately and had severe burns to her torso and legs,” he said.

The burns caused “extensive damage” to her abdomen and legs, court documents allege, and resulted in “fluid-filled blistering of the skin, pus accumulation and skin sloughing”.

lansing s burns can be seen above tighe 1 6319823 1679254972491Lansing’s burn can be seen above. (three)

In the months following the incident, Taghey stated that Lansing was at “serious risk of infection” and required continued medical treatment and attention.

The documents allege that Lansing is “permanently and severely injured, scarred and disfigured”, and will continue to suffer pain for the rest of his life.

Since the incident, her claim states that she suffers from ongoing issues such as hypersensitive skin that requires daily SPF, low tolerance to temperature, chemicals, sunlight, and form-fitting clothing, constant weight gain Growing up and a negative self-image.

The claim reads, “The injuries are gone and will leave severely disfigured and visible scars.”

She also alleged that her mental health has declined and she is often “fearful, anxious, depressed, sad and tearful”.

What is a negligence claim?

David Taub, partner at Robbins Appleby LLP in Toronto, said there are five elements that need to be established for a successful negligence claim.

“The four basic elements are a duty of care, a breach of that duty, causation and damages,” Taub told CTV News Toronto in an interview on Sunday.

First, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant had a legal duty of care—in this case, Tim Hortons should have been expected to provide Lansing with a properly brewed cup of tea at an appropriate temperature and temperature.

The plaintiff would also be expected to show a breach of that duty, and that the breach resulted in damages.

“The cup, which contained the superheated liquid ‘collapsed on itself’—I think that’s the language they use,” Taub said, referring to the alleged infringement in Lansing’s claim. “Therefore, [they’re alleging] Either the tea was so hot that the cup burst, or the cup itself was completely bad.

Taub said that when serving thousands of hot beverages a day, Tim Hortons can be reasonably expected to experience spills. In her case, Lansing would need to prove that the temperature of the tea was so hot that it caused burns that exceeded what could be “reasonably” expected in such settings.

“Plaintiffs would need to prove a more severe burn than they potentially suffered when purchasing the hot beverage,” Taub said. “You’ll need medical evidence.”

The fourth element, damages, is that the plaintiff must establish that the harm they suffered is compensable in damages, he said.

“You would expect in any normal case that your cup would be large enough to hold the contents inside, and therefore, if it suddenly fell over on you, you would suffer some kind of damage from a hot drink.” fell on you,” Taub said.

According to her claim, Lansing is seeking damages to cover the cost of ongoing medical treatment, psychotherapy, a dietician and future cosmetic treatments.

the defendant denied the allegations

An attorney representing TDL and Greenwood denied that Tim Horton’s tea service posed a hazard or that the cup was defective in any way in a statement of defense filed in late February.

Instead, it blames Lansing for the incident, labeling him “the author of his misfortune”.

The defense argues that, at the time of the incident, Lansing was not paying attention, was distracted by her cellphone, and, “despite her knowledge of the hot liquid,” moved in haste.

The defendant’s statement argued that its parties “fell all duties of care in relation to the sale and distribution of hot beverages.”

The defense is asking the court to dismiss Lansing’s claim.

‘Not very common’

Taub said he hasn’t seen many successful similar cases within his time in the field.

“It’s not very common,” he said, “but it does happen.”

The petitioner said that these cases often attract public attention.

In a famous 1994 court case, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck alleged that she suffered third-degree burns after McDonald’s coffee spilled on her lap while parked outside the restaurant. The legal proceedings made international news.

earlier this year, British Columbia man files lawsuit against McDonald’s alleging that he was injured by “burning hot” coffee when he stopped at a drive-thru window. exactly a decade ago, A B.C. woman also sued the fastfood chain over burns Sustained by a hot drink spill.

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