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Parents Sue Dunkin' Over Son's Hash Brown Burn

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Boston Herald: A Franklin couple is seeking damages of $200,000 from the operators of a Quincy Dunkin' Donuts and its insurer based on claims their toddler burned his neck on a "dangerously hot" hash brown served at a drive-thru window.

In a civil suit filed last month, the parents of Cullen MacLeod, 23 months, claim their son suffered "serious and permanent burn injuries" after the hot hash brown fell from his mouth and onto his neck, where it immediately stuck.

"It took only seconds for the extremely high temperature of the interior portion of the food item to severely burn and blister (Cullen's) skin," attorney Joseph K. Curran Jr. wrote in a complaint filed in Norfolk Superior Court.

Before handing the hash brown to her son to eat, the boy's mother, Robin, checked it and found it was "lukewarm," the suit states. The family claims the hash browns heated up "unevenly" and that the food's interior temperature was "unsafe for public consumption."

The Jan. 14 episode left the boy with burns on his neck and chin, the suit states.

Curran, who represents Robin and Greg MacLeod, said the suit is not like the famous McDonald's scalding coffee case.

"The perception attached to a case like this is that it's a McDonald's-like case, which it is not. It will stand on its own merits," said Curran.

He declined to elaborate on the toddler's injuries and said the boy's parents are not giving interviews.

Donovan Services Inc., which operates the Quincy franchise, is named in the suit. The company directed questions to Dunkin' Donuts' corporate headquarters in Canton.

"At Dunkin' Donuts, the well-being of our customers is our number one priority," Dunkin' spokesman Andrew Mastrangelo said in an e-mail. "We have been made aware of the complaint and we are looking into the situation."

The suit also accuses the franchise's insurer, CNA Insurance Co. of Chicago, of refusing to make a "good faith offer" to settle the claim.

A CNA spokeswoman could not immediately provide a comment on the civil suit.

The case has been reviewed by a Norfolk Superior Court clerk where the case will remain, according to court records.

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous September 14, 2009, 7:24 AM

Another stupid lawsuit. I don’t believe that the mother thought it was “lukewarm” and okay for the kid to eat and suddenly it was sooo hot, it burned him. Stupid lawsuits are the major problem with this country. I hope the judge throws this case out and make the parents pay the court fees!

KG September 14, 2009, 9:16 AM

Just another $$$ hungry mom. Once you bought the food it’s up to you to know how and when to eat it. And what is a toddler doing eating a hash brown anyway? Nice nutritional breakfast, Mom!

I always wait until my kids’ food is cooled down for sure. It doesn’t take a genius to feel if something is too hot or not, kinda like their coffee, read the packaging, CAUTION: CONTENTS MAY BE HOT. I hope you lose this lawsuit and are found guilty of stupidity.

Nicole September 14, 2009, 10:56 AM

People make me sick. The parents need to be more aware of the children’s food. I would never give a 2 year old an entire hash brown without cutting it up first and letting it cool down.

Plus i work with deli food and hash browns DON’T heated up “unevenly”.

Anonymous September 14, 2009, 12:19 PM

That woman has issues what are the people supposed to do hold the hashborwn till it has cooled off then give it to him the last time i checked that is the your responsiblity its not like the two year old ended up i nthe hospital with third degree burns when stuff like this happens you are supposed to contact the manager of the restaurant not try and sue and FYI the judge is going to throw this one out there is no probably it will get thrown out it is about as ridiculous as the woman who tried to sure mcdonalds because she was fat

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