A Delran woman who suffered severe burns from Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is suing the chain, claiming a better-designed cup holder could have prevented her injuries.
Samantha Picklo said she was seriously injured after hot coffee spilled in her lap on Route 130 Dunkin’ Donuts in Delran last August. She suffered second- and third-degree burns as a result of the spill, according to a lawsuit filed in Burlington County Superior Court.
In a phone call with NJ Advance Media, attorney Paul D’Amato stressed that this isn’t a ‘hot coffee’ lawsuit and coffee temperature isn’t the issue here. . Instead, the poor design of the tray used to hand over the coffees is what D’Amato says needs to be changed.
Dunkin’ Donuts did not respond to a request for comment and deny the allegations in a court filing.
Picklo ordered three coffees, one extra-large, one large and one medium, in the drive-thru lane, according to the lawsuit. He was asked to wait outside the drive-thru lane while the coffee was brewed and someone would bring it to him, the suit states.
An employee attempted to hand her the three coffees, placed inside a cardboard cup holder, through her car window. But the coffees all spilled directly into Picklo’s lap, the suit says.
The shock and immediate pain led her to press the accelerator pedal, driving down Route 130, the suit says. She jumped out of the car and pulled off her pants, screaming in pain, the suit says.
Police body camera footage taken at the scene and reviewed by NJ Advance Media shows red marks and peeling skin on his thighs and legs.
“His legs are all burnt. There’s skin peeling off his legs from the degree of the burns,” a Delran police officer can be heard telling Dunkin’ Donuts employees.
She was taken to Jefferson Hospital, where she received inpatient care and other outpatient treatment.
Gray paper carrier trays, ubiquitous in fast-food restaurants, are too short to properly hold tall cups, D’Amato said, making it easier to dump hot coffees.
Instead, taller trays containing bags, like those already used by DoorDash and UberEats drivers, should also be used for steering wheel controls, D’Amato said.
Although she has no functional impairment from the burns, Picklo still has scars and red marks on her legs and thighs nearly a year later, D’Amato said.
The suit seeks a jury trial and seeks damages and attorney’s fees.
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