Starbucks Is Not Liable for Burns Suffered by Officer Who Spilled Coffee on Himself, Jury Finds

The officer, Matthew Kohr, spilled coffee on his lap after the lid of his beverage cup popped off ‘like a jack-in-the-box’

A lawyer for Starbucks pointed out that Kohr did not seek medical attention for at least two hours after the incident. 

Starbucks will not be held responsible for the injuries suffered by Matthew Kohr, a North Carolina police officer who burned himself on a complimentary cup of coffee from Starbucks and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the coffee company for $750,000.

In the suit, Lieutenant Kohr claimed that Starbucks had been negligent because the lid on his coffee popped off suddenly and the cup collapsed, causing him to spill the coffee on his lap. Kohr alleged that the incident aggravated his Crohn’s disease and also caused his wife to lose her “intimate partner.”

"In this case, Starbucks delivered coffee in an unsafe container,” Kohr's attorney Daniel Johnson said in a statement. “Starbucks delivered coffee in a 20-ounce cup with no sleeve — a cup with an improperly secured lid. Starbucks delivered coffee that failed to conform with their own security policy."

Kohr said in court that he drove home in order to take photos of the injuries before seeking medical attention. Tricia Derr, an attorney for Starbucks, pointed out that Kohr wasn’t treated at urgent care for at least two hours.


Earlier in the deliberations, jurors were deadlocked in the decision 11 to 1, but both sides later agreed that they only needed to reach a majority of jurors. The panel found that Starbucks was not negligent in the distribution of the coffee.