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'Excessively hot tea': Starbucks sues daughter of woman suing coffee giant

Lawsuit claims Fatameh Khalatabadi was burned at a Port Coquitlam Starbucks in July 2021 because the lid wasn't secure, a claim the company denies.
B.C. Supreme Court will be the location of a showdown over the alleged temperature of Starbucks tea.

Starbucks is suing the daughter of a woman who earlier filed suit against the coffee giant claiming she burned herself with excessively hot tea at a Port Coquitlam outlet.

The case goes back to June 8, 2022, when Fatameh Khalatabadi filed a B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim. She alleged she was burned after a spill of “excessively hot tea” from a cup that did not have a secure lid. She had gone to the Starbucks outlet on July 9, 2021, with her daughter, said the court documents. 

Khalatabadi claimed Starbucks Coffee Canada and Starbucks Corporation were negligent and breached a duty of care to use safe products, specifically using secure lids and serving beverages that were hotter than they expected them to be.

The claim alleged Khalatabadi suffered burns to her thighs, groin and genitals. As a result, the claims asserts she has experienced low mood, anxiousness, poor self-image and/or self-confidence and scarring.

The defendants denied the allegations in a June 30, 2023 response to notice of civil claim.

The response said, if the incident had occurred, Khalatabadi had a duty to exercise care for her own safety. It asserted that it was Khalatabadi who was negligent in handling the drink.

The response said the temperature of beverage was in accord with industry standards, and that the lid was properly affixed to the cup.

“Starbucks Canada denies that it owed the plaintiff any duty, statutory or otherwise, either as alleged or at all,” the response said.

The Starbucks claim

The case heated up when Starbucks Coffee Canada filed a June 7 B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim, claiming contributions or indemnity from Neda Farahani (who the new claim said is Khalatabadi’s daughter) and a Jane Doe, in the event it is found liable for Khalatabadi’s alleged injuries.

The Starbucks claim alleges Farahani gave the drink to Khalatabadi and that it was she who owed the duty of care to her mother. Or, it said, it was the Jane Doe who handed the drink over and owed the duty of care.

The negligence was on the part of the person giving Khalatabadi the drink, the company claim said.

The company claim said, if it is found liable for Khalatabadi’s injuries, it seeks a declaration from the court that the daughter or Jane Doe were responsible in whole or part for all costs against the company to Khalatabadi.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.