McDonald's Ordered To Pay $800k To Family Over Child's Severe McNugget Burns

A lawsuit has led to McDonald's having to pay a whopping $800,000 to a family whose child — who was 4 years old at the time — suffered severe burns from overly hot McNuggets at a location of the chain in Tamarac, Florida in 2019. Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez sued McDonald's, as well as the franchise owner Upchurch Foods, with claims that their daughter, Olivia Caraballo, suffered second-degree burns on her leg after a chicken nugget from a Happy Meal got stuck to the car seat. The couple said the nuggets were unreasonably hot and, thus, dangerous for consumers. 

While McDonald's and Upchurch claimed they were not liable for the incident, a Florida jury came to the decision that the family, who initially asked for $15 million in damages, should be financially compensated. After a two-hour deliberation, the jury settled on the amount of $800,000. This decision comes after an initial trial in May, which also found the companies liable. Speaking of the decision to NBC Miami, Holmes said, "I'm actually just happy they listened to Olivia's voice and the jury was able to decide a fair judgment, I'm happy with that."

The case has garnered social media attention

The attorneys of Philana Holmes and Humberto Caraballo Estevez addressed the outcome in a statement, which begins, "This momentous decision brings meaningful closure to an arduous and protracted legal process." They went on to note that this outcome ensures that those at fault will have to face consequences after trying to avoid doing so through two trials, stating, "This verdict reaffirms that they must now face the consequences and provide full justice. Despite years of denying any fault and, during this trial, attempting to undermine the extent of Olivia's suffering in the eyes of the community, their efforts have been superseded by the jury's determination." McDonald's and Upchurch have not yet commented on the new outcome, but released a statement in May, via Today, in which they suggested that the incident was a mistake, but not their fault.

Since the initial case was filed, social media users have been quick to speak out on the matter, with some feeling that the parents were to blame, saying things like, "This was a lack of parenting at best," and, "Appropriate parenting skills include checking kids' food before handing it over for them." Meanwhile, as others criticized McDonald's for negligence, even more suggested our society has "become addicted to litigation."