Following a 2019 incident outside a McDonald’s in Tamarac, near Fort Lauderdale, a Florida family has been granted $800,000 in damages. The incident involved 4-year-old Olivia Caraballo suffering second-degree burns when a Chicken McNugget fell on her leg as her mother drove away from the drive-thru. A jury reached a decision to award $400,000 for the past four years and another $400,000 for future damages against McDonald’s USA and its franchise operator, Upchurch Foods.
Philana Holmes, Olivia’s mother, expressed contentment with the jury’s “equitable ruling.” During the trial, she testified that Olivia, now 8 years old, refers to the scar on her inner thigh as her “nugget” and plans to have it removed. The family originally sought $15 million in damages.
In response, the defense lawyers argued that the child’s wound healed in about three weeks and caused no further discomfort, suggesting that $156,000 should sufficiently cover past and future damages. They also contended that the mother was more concerned about the scar than Olivia herself.
This case shares resemblances with a prior incident in New Mexico, wherein an elderly woman was awarded significant compensation for being scalded by McDonald’s coffee. The temperature of the coffee was deemed to be hotter than the typical industry standard for fast-food coffee, making it hazardous. Despite this parallel, the jury in the Florida case came to a verdict in under two hours of deliberation.