Starbucks and Barnes & Noble Move for Summary Judgment in "Hot Tea Spill" Case; Starbucks Is Out, Barnes & Noble Stays In.

Case: Hassan v. Barnes & Noble

Date: October 31, 2013

Judge: Francois A. Rivera

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens accident lawyer)



Burn Injuries

Landlord Loses Summary Judgment Motion Against Child Burnt by Too-Hot Water in Bathtub


Facts: Plaintiff, a child, was inside a Starbucks Café in a Barnes & Noble when her parents bought hot tea which they placed on a wobbly table The cup lid was loose and tea spilled and burned the child. Child sues. Defendans have applied to the Court for summary judgment dismissing the complaint against them.

Plaintiffs claim that Barnes & Noble was negligent in serving tea with a loose lid and in having a wobbly table in their café. Barnes & Noble claims that the tea was not an unreasonably dangerous product; also, plaintiffs made no showing that it had notice of the defective table.

As to Starbucks, it didn't own or occupy the books store, and did not supervise or control the Barnes & Noble employees who worked in this café. Nor did Starbucks have anything to do with the tables. While Barnes & Noble sells some Starbucks products and uses some Starbucks marketing materials, Starbucks not supply tea.

Held: Barnes & Noble failed to meet its burden of proof by not showing when the allegedly wobbly table was last inspected or cleaned before the accident. Its motion is denied and Barnes & Noble remains in this lawsuit.

The Starbucks defendants have shown that they owed no legal duty to the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs' papers were not sufficient to raise an issue of fact as to this defendant. Starbucks wins its motion and is dismissed from the case.