Local News

Raleigh officer, wife asking for $50K in hot coffee case

Posted May 4, 2015

— Attorneys for a Raleigh police officer began making the case Monday that he should be compensated the burns, blisters and emotional damage he suffered when a hot cup of coffee spilled on his lap in January 2012.

In the morning, a judge heard motions from representatives of Matthew Kohr, a lieutenant with Raleigh police's special operations division, and Starbucks.

Kohr and his wife are suing the coffee giant, claiming that a lid popped off the cup of coffee he ordered at the Starbucks on Peace Street and the cup folded in on itself. They are seeking $50,000, including damages, attorney fees and medical costs.

In the lawsuit, Kohr said he poured cold water on the burn, but the pain intensified. He claimed the 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."

The Starbucks barista who prepared the drink and the company that made the cup were initially named in the suit but have since been dropped.

Before the case could go forward, the cost of the cup of coffee came into question. Since Kohr didn't pay, Starbucks attorneys argued that it wasn't subject to the same warranty that a purchase would imply.

They also pointed out that Starbucks serves about four billion cups a year made by International Paper and that there have been only 59 similar incidents.

Jury selection began Monday afternoon, and testimony in the case is expected to begin later this week.


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  • Jack Mazzella May 6, 2015
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    If you don't squeeze the cup this doesn't happen so get a life Barney Fife. And as for Miss loss of companion and intimate partner. Get a cat and a marital aid cuz my bet is that you weren't gettin any anyway.

  • David Burrill May 5, 2015
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    I'm surprised he did not shoot someone in the back 10 times at the start bucks, I hope RPD fire him, worthless piece of do do

  • Matt Kohr May 5, 2015
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    hot coffee should be labeled "REALLY, REALLY HOT"

  • Matt Kohr May 5, 2015
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    This poor police officer... I feel so bad for him and can TOTALLY RELATE. Last year, I was at Wrightsville Beach and got the worst sunburn of my life. It hurt so bad!!! And I had to spend money on aloe, etc. And I wouldn't let my partner even come close to me. The good news is that I HAVE SUED THE SUN. Though I have not heard back from THE SUN'S attorney, I am sure I will soon.

    In an unrelated action, I also have SUED TACOS. And SUED HOT PEPPERS. The GI issues that these fiends have caused for me brings me to tears.

    I have also SUED DORA THE EXPLORER. The insane repetitive nature of her syndicated show has made me depressed.

  • Kathy Sanders May 5, 2015
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    Somehow I knew this story would be the one getting the most attention, and I thought of the Stella Liebeck case.

  • Marcy Lyn May 5, 2015
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    TO: SoldiersWife
    You hit it Right On !! The same thing my Dad ( 23 year vet, 3 purple hearts ret. USMC officer and mom said ) let this guy and his wife see what it's really like to be in pain and missing their partner !!!

  • Billy Bob May 5, 2015
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    what a numbnuts. Just trying to make a buck on a free lunch.

  • Stephen Batchelor May 5, 2015
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    Well said, Cara. And thank you and your husband for his service.

  • Philip Livingston May 5, 2015
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    Where my check at? I want my check!

  • Nicolle Leney May 5, 2015
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    Cara, thank you to your husband for his service, and to you (because spouses serve as well)