McDonald’s Loses Another Major Lawsuit About Food Being Too Hot

A South Florida jury has found McDonald's guilty of serving McNuggets at too hot of temperature, which resulted in at least one injury.

By Jessica Goudreault | Published

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Who knew McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets could be so hot that they could seriously burn you? After a McNugget fell on a young child’s lap and gave her second-degree burns, her mother filed a lawsuit against the fast food chain. The South Florida jury has found McDonald’s guilty of serving piping hot Chicken McNuggets, according to NBC News.

The burn victim’s mother, Philana Holmes, recounted the 2019 incident as she testified in court. She ordered both her son and daughter Happy Meals at a McDonald’s drive-through and handed the food to her children in the back seat of her car. One of the nuggets from the 4-year-old daughter’s Happy Meal fell out and was pressed between the young girl’s thigh and seatbelt for two minutes, causing severe burns to her skin.

Philana Holmes was unable to immediately pull her car over to help her daughter who was screaming from the pain. In addition to the injury the daughter sustained, the mother also must have experienced stress and trauma from not being able to help her autistic daughter in the backseat.

So how hot was the McDonald’s Chicken McNugget? The defense team argued that the nuggets were only at a toasty 160 degrees, a temperature warm enough to prevent salmonella poisoning, while the prosecutors argued that the nuggets must have been over a scalding 200 degrees to cause such burns. Clearly, the jury believed the prosecutors, because McDonald’s was found guilty of serving food that is too hot.

McDonald’s understandably disagrees with the guilty verdict, arguing that their nuggets are not meant to be pressed between a seatbelt and a child’s leg for two minutes. They feel that the incident was an unfortunate accident and that their food is still safe for customers.

It is unclear if this incident will negatively impact the multi-billion-dollar fast food chain, but we expect customers to continue their devotion to the brand. In recent years, McDonald’s has seen a slight decline in revenue, from earning $23.223 billion in 2021 to “only” $23.183 billion in 2022. With so many other fast food options available to customers, it’s no surprise that McDonald’s has seen a slight dip in sales.

This new lawsuit is reminiscent of the 1992 lawsuit that Stella Liebeck made against McDonald’s. After spilling hot coffee on her lap, the New Mexico resident suffered serious burns and sued the company for nearly $3 million in punitive and compensatory damages. This lawsuit also inspired McDonald’s to add the “Caution: Contents Hot” label to their hot coffee cups.

The jury is still out on just how much money Philana Holmes and her daughter will receive from McDonald’s USA and its franchise owner, Upchurch Foods. A second jury will meet to decide the amount in the near future, though we assume it will be enough to buy plenty more (hopefully cheeseburger) Happy Meals.

While McDonald’s repeatedly faces lawsuits for their food and drinks that are too hot, we’re wondering when a lawsuit will be made for their fries that are too cold or their shake machine that is seemingly always broken?