- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A North Carolina jury has decided that Starbucks is not liable for the medical fees and emotional suffering that a police officer claimed to have endured after spilling a complimentary cup of hot coffee on himself.

The announcement came after Judge Donald Stephens told the jury that both sides in the case were willing to accept the verdict if it were reached by a majority of the jurors instead of a unanimous decision, a local ABC affiliate reported.

Lt. Matthew Kohr suffered third degree burns when he claimed the lid on top of the coffee cup he was given for free at a Raleigh Starbucks popped off, causing the cup to fold in on itself and spill in his lap.

He and his wife, Melanie Kohr, were suing the java giant for $750,000. Mr. Kohr claimed the incident caused such severe stress that it aggravated his Crohn’s disease and forced him to undergo surgery to remove part of his intestine. The lawsuit also claimed Mrs. Kohr lost a “source of emotional support, her social companion and her intimate partner.”

A manager from the coffee shop testified that the coffee chain’s manual dictated that hot beverages served in venti cups be protected by a “sleeve” or a secondary cup, neither of which were used in Mr. Kohr’s case, though that was not enough to convince the majority of the jury of the company’s fault, ABC News reported.

After the verdict, Mr. Kohr spoke with reporters and thanked jurors for hearing his case.

“I really appreciate their time, doing their civic duty, and helping us with our dispute,” he said. “We thank everybody for the support and we’re looking forward to moving on and putting this behind us and moving forward.”


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