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Dunkin' Donuts and Other Fast Food Service Lawsuits

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 07, 2011 6:46 AM

Move over, McDonald's. There are Dunkin' Donuts lawsuits in town. Over the years there have been many lawsuits against fast service industries. These range from fast food chains, drive-thrus, coffee franchises, doughnut shops, gas stations, and mom-and-pop store owners. Almost every company has been affected from Subway to Starbucks -- and almost every menu item from happy meals to ice cream.

But when do you actually have a case? When is it worth your time to sue a fast service franchise or fast food company?

Suing Fast Service Stops (Like Dunkin' Donuts)

In June 2009, Danielle Jordan claimed that she went into a Philadelphia Dunkin' Donuts and requested that they douse her coffee with artificial sweetener, as she suffers from diabetes, reports Reuters.

While downing her drink, the Philadelphia Daily News reports that she became dizzy, light-headed, and numb, necessitating a trip to the hospital. She had gone into diabetic shock.

And so began the Dunkin' Donuts sugar lawsuit.

Suing Franchise Owners or Fast Food Workers for Health Concerns

Jordan blamed the company and believed that the incident was the result of a sugar mix-up. She sought money for what her lawyer calls "a loss of life's enjoyment."

The bad reaction to what Jordan assumed was the drink could have caused serious medical issues. In some cases, it is sometimes possible to sue for medical issues, hospital bills, and even emotional distress in these types of situations.

For example, you may remember when a McDonald's customer received third-degree burns from hot coffee. There have also been class-action lawsuits (when numerous customers bring the same claim against a parent company) against companies for health concerns like obesity.

If you believe fast food or drinks have caused a medical issue for you, you have the right to speak with an attorney to understand any claims you may have.

Proving a Fast Food or Drink Lawsuit

In tort actions, it's generally the duty of the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant is responsible by "a preponderance of the evidence." Your attorney will walk you through the kind of evidence needed to prove that you were harmed.

For example, in the Dunkin' Donuts case above, there are a lot of evidentiary problems. They indicate that the customer, Danielle Jordan, may not have been able to prove the case strongly enough to receive punitive damages from the parent company.

These types of issues need to be carefully considered when proving a case:

  • Did the customer keep the food item or drink for testing?
  • Can the customer prove that the item caused the medical reaction and that it wasn't something consumed earlier in the day?
  • When did the customer start to feel ill? Had the item even been digested?
  • Are there underlying medical concerns?
  • Did the customer have their health (such as diabetes or heart health) under control?

These types of questions go on and on, which doesn't bode well for any lawsuit.

Other "Quick Stop" Food and Drink Company Lawsuits:

Dunkin' donuts and other sweets or coffee chains have had interesting lawsuits in the past:

These past lawsuits may give you some food for thought about your own case and the types of claims that tend to win court cases.

You can sue most fast food or fast service companies for a variety of reasons, but you want to be sure the time and effort needed won't be a waste. An attorney can help you understand the case nuances and effort required.

Related Resources:

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