McDonald’s Franchise Found Liable For Four Year Old’s ‘Chicken McNugget Burn’ After Drive-Through Order

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Alexander Pease Contributor
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A Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, court found a McDonald’s franchise liable Thursday for damages resulting from a toddler’s “chicken McNugget burn.”

The then-four-year-old girl’s mother, Philana Holmes, alleged in a lawsuit that a 2019 drive-thru visit to the Golden Arches went wrong when the McNugget Happy Meal she ordered for her daughter fumbled and caused “second-degree burns” to the little girl’s leg, according to

The jury deemed the McDonald’s Corporation and the franchise owner of the specific branch, Upsurge Foods Inc., to be liable for not including a warning about “foreseeable risks of harm.” It also found that the franchise owner was “negligent.” (RELATED: McDonalds Hit With Civil Rights Complaint For Allegedly Racist Hiring Practices)

“The Chicken McNuggets inside of that Happy Meal were unreasonably and dangerously hot … and caused (the victim)’s skin and flesh around her thighs to burn,” the lawsuit read. (RELATED: Lawsuit Alleges ‘Broken Glass’ Found In Food At Disney World ‘Led To Extensive Bleeding’)

Due to the alleged high temperature of the child-centric dish, the suit argued that both the branch and the corporation were responsible for dishing out food that was “unfit for human handling — let alone consumption,” according to the outlet.

Lawyers for both the McDonald’s Corporation and the franchise owner argued that if the child’s meal had been served at a lower temperature, there would have been sanitary concerns, since regulations require restaurants to serve food that is hot enough that they are deemed cooked and therefore safe for consumption.

Moreover, the defense attorneys argued that they cannot control what happens to the food once it leaves the drive-thru window, according to Local10.

The Holmes family deemed the outcome of the lawsuit a victory.

“Today, a jury of reasonable and measured members of our community rendered a verdict that reflected the truth, the facts, and the law,” a statement from the family’s legal counsel read. “This is not the infamous Hot Coffee case; this is Olivia’s case … She’s an adorable, innocent child who was severely burned through no fault of her own.” (RELATED: McDonald’s Is Pushing Happy Meals For Adults With Toys To Evoke Nostalgia)

McDonald’s USA and the franchise owner both issued statements disagreeing with the verdict, although the former praised the jury for not finding the corporation liable for negligence.