A seven-year-old girl from Florida was awarded $800,000 in damages by a jury for being burned by a Chicken McNugget at a local McDonald’s four years ago.
Everyone loves some piping hot nuggets from McDonald’s but one little girl, sadly, got a not-so-Happy Meal.
The incident took place in 2019 when little Olivia Caraballo visited a McDonald’s in Tamarac, Florida, and a Chicken McNugget accidentally fell onto her thigh, causing a second-degree burn. The case drew parallels to the infamous lawsuit against McDonald’s from over 30 years ago when a woman was scalded by hot coffee.
The jury in Broward County deliberated and reached a decision to compensate Olivia Caraballo for the pain and suffering she endured. The $800,000 award includes $400,000 for the pain she experienced and another $400,000 for any potential future suffering, as stated in court documents. Notably, the family’s lawyers had initially requested $15 million in damages.
The lawsuit was filed by Olivia’s parents, Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez, against McDonald’s and Upchurch Foods, the franchise operator of the McDonald’s in Tamarac. In a separate ruling in May, another jury found both companies liable for failing to provide adequate instructions or warnings about the potential risks of injuries related to a Chicken McNuggets meal.
While McDonald’s lawyers declined to comment on the recent ruling, it remains uncertain whether they or Upchurch Foods will appeal the decision. Under Florida law, they have 15 days to seek a new trial or 30 days to appeal.
Jordan Redavid, the lead counsel for the family, expressed satisfaction with the jury’s decision, considering it a form of “full justice” for Olivia. He noted that the awarded damages were significantly higher than what McDonald’s lawyers had proposed in their closing arguments, which was $156,000.
The incident occurred when Holmes ordered a six-piece Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal for Olivia at the Tamarac McDonald’s drive-through. Unfortunately, one nugget fell onto Olivia’s lap, causing disfigurement and scarring, according to the initial lawsuit.
Following the verdict, Holmes expressed her contentment with the decision and highlighted that she wanted Olivia’s pain to be acknowledged and considered by the court.
The court will oversee the distribution of the awarded funds, likely through a court-appointed guardian who will propose a suitable plan for distribution. The funds will likely be invested and held in an account until Olivia reaches adulthood.
This case has drawn comparisons to the well-known lawsuit involving McDonald’s in 1992, when Stella Liebeck, then 79, suffered severe burns from spilling hot coffee on her lap at a McDonald’s drive-through in Albuquerque.