Jury still deliberating in Starbucks lawsuit
Posted May 8, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh police officer who sued Starbucks after he suffered third-degree burns from a spilled cup of coffee will have to wait until Monday to learn whether a jury will award him damages in the case.
Jury members in the civil suit returned from deliberations shortly after 6 p.m. Friday and told the judge they were 11-to-1 on a decision. The judge adjourned for the evening and instructed the jury that he would declare a mistrial if they could not reach a unanimous decision.
Matthew Kohr is seeking compensation totaling $750,000 after he said a faulty cup handed to him at the Starbucks on Peace Street in Raleigh collapsed, spilling the contents across his lap. His wife, Melanie Kohr, is also a plantiff in the case.
Kohr said the trauma of the burn set off his Crohn’s disease, and he needed surgery to remove a portion of his intestine. He spent months on sick leave and struggled to return to work at his job as a lieutenant with the special operations division.
"There was this black cloud hanging over him, and he would try so hard to get out of that and go back to work," Melanie Kohr told the jury Thursday. "It was the most challenging year of my whole life."
Defense attorneys, however, argued that Kohr was battling with illnesses and anxiety prior to the incident.
Per Starbucks' policy, Kohr received 50 cups of free coffee over two months for being in uniform. In order for Kohr to accept it under department guidelines, he placed the equivalent amount of the cost of the coffee in the tip jar on every occasion.