Local News

Hot coffee lands Raleigh officer, Starbucks in lawsuit battle

Posted March 17, 2015

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A Raleigh police officer is suing Starbucks, two employees and a coffee cup maker after suffering third-degree burns and blisters when his coffee spilled into his lap.

After Matthew Kohr received a cup of coffee at the Starbucks on Peace Street in January 2012, the lid popped off and the cup folded in on itself, according to the lawsuit.

Kohr said he poured cold water on the burn, but the pain intensified.

Kohr claims his injuries aggravated his Crohn's disease, and resulted in surgery to remove a portion of his intestine.

The incident, according to the lawsuit, also caused Kohr's wife, Melanie, a loss of a "source of emotional support, her social companion and her intimate partner."

Kohr is seeking compensation, including damages, attorney fees and medical costs, totaling more than $10,000.

The Starbucks barista who prepared the drink and his supervisor were also named in the suit.

In their response, Starbucks and International Paper said Kohr should have been more careful, that safety warnings are printed on their cups and the officer's medical records show that the officer healed within a few months of surgery.

The coffee maker also mentioned that the coffee was given to Kohr free of charge and that the officer "was negligent in his use of the product."

Kohr, a lieutenant with Raleigh police's special operations division, joined the department in 1993.

A trial date is scheduled for May.

49 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Miles Rogers Jul 1, 2015
    user avatar

    I heard a documentary is being done on this case. Should be interesting.

  • Dana Cooke Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    I can't believe how mean people can be. While I respect an educated opinion, one's that are insulting and degrading are inexcusable...you should be ashamed. These open forums provide the shield that you all need to make comments that you wouldn't normally say to someone's face. This is a good family that didn't ask for this to happen to them.

  • James Kirby Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Why not make fun of it? It was moronic. She put a hot cup of coffee between her legs. That's an accident waiting to happen.

  • Todd Singleton Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Nancy Mallett = part of the problem. Nice. How many people use those cups? How many have been burned to the point of a lawsuit? Good to know you're the type who will hold others responsible for your failures. Please wear a name tag so that we know to stay 100 yards away from you at all times. People who aren't personally accountable are a liability waiting to happen.

  • Todd Singleton Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    I have Crohn's. Never heard of an external injury aggravating the symptoms to the point where surgery is necessary. If that was true I would have required surgery by now as I've had several abdominal injuries, some internal.

    So this guy does not have enough good judgement to know that when you have Crohn's you simply don't drink coffee, decaffeinated or otherwise. Doesn't have the judgement to understand coffee is hot and cups don't just "collapse" on themselves. Can't understand that the barista had precisely zero control over his clumsiness yet we assume he has enough good judgement to be a cop? Hmmmm, sounds to me like someone needs an immediate desk assignment requiring little or no judgement. Doesn't sound like a responsible or stable person and enjoys blaming others for his own negligence.

  • Kristin Byrne Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    And subsequent lawsuits have been thrown out. Even one against McDonald's for the same thing.

  • Tracy Watson Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    How is he out of luck? The lady that sued McDonalds won.

  • Tracy Watson Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    If you were to get second and third degree burns I am sure though that you would have.

  • Peter Bourey Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    So what exactly is the appropriate temperature to pour coffee in your lap? People have become so stupid and dependent on everyone else they have no common sense or responsibility for themselves any longer. It's always someone else's fault....smh

  • Jim Slaughter Mar 18, 2015
    user avatar

    One more fact to mention. I have NEVER witnessed a coffee cup collapse once the top has been removed! Must have had some help from Mr Kohr...just saying!

More...