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Southwest Sued Over Hot Tea Burns

By Deanne Katz, Esq. | Last updated on

Southwest Airlines is in hot water over a cup of tea that burned a passenger who flew with the airline back in December.

Angelica Keller was sitting in the front row of a flight in December 2011 when she asked for a cup of tea. Passengers in the first row didn't have tray tables to hold their drinks. When Keller received her tea it came as a cup of hot water that was tucked in a second cup containing a tea bag.

Keller struggled to get the tea bag out of the cup and in doing so spilled the hot water on her lap. The injuries she suffered are the basis of her lawsuit.

She wasn't able to get up right away because of the mandatory seatbelt policy on airplanes which made the injuries she suffered worse. Keller's skin blistered and peeled in the areas where the water spilled even though it didn't hit bare skin, according to the suit.

The complaint is that Southwest served water that was too hot given the possibility that it would spill during turbulence. Keller is also upset that flight attendant's didn't offer to assist her or provide a tray when they delivered the water, reports ABC News.

At no point did Southwest employees warn her that the water could cause significant burns if spilled, according to the complaint.

The issue in the suit is negligence. A court will have to determine if Southwest had a duty to keep the water at an appropriate temperature to avoid injury and whether they failed to meet that requirement.

Generally, companies are required to take basic safety precautions for customers which could include not serving hot water that creates a risk of severe burns. But Keller will have to show that the airline failed to take proper precautions when serving the hot water.

If this issue sounds familiar it's because something very similar has happened before. This is very much like the McDonald's coffee case which happened almost a decade ago.

Just because an injury sounds silly, doesn't mean it's a laughing matter. If you've been injured by someone else's negligence don't keep quiet about it. Find an attorney who can help you get what you deserve and quiet those naysayers.

Keller has sued for compensatory and punitive damages. Southwest commented that they are currently reviewing the incident, reports ABC News.

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