UC Berkeley Grad Sues In-N-Out Burger Over Burns from Hot Coffee

The lawsuit alleges that Hedy Chen accidentally spilled hot coffee on her body while in the drive-through and when employees at the burger restaurant were asked to call 911, they refused.

A University of California at Berkeley graduate sued a burger chain in Alameda County Superior Court today over injuries suffered when she was badly burned by a spilled cup of hot coffee last year and an employee allegedly refused to call for an ambulance.
The lawsuit filed by Hedy Chen against In-N-Out Burger Inc. is based on legal claims of negligence and failure to come to her aid. Chen, who graduated from UC last year, says in the lawsuit that the incident happened when she and a friend stopped an In-N-Out drive-through restaurant in Oakland on April 1, 2013.
The lawsuit says she ordered a cup of coffee and that an employee handed her the allegedly "excessively hot" beverage in a paper cup without a protective sleeve. The cup was so hot that Chen could not hold it and she dropped it onto her abdomen and thighs, which caused her to suffer excruciating pain, the lawsuit alleges.
The suit alleges she asked the employee to call 911, but the worker refused, allegedly saying that she was forbidden to do so because it was against company policy to call 911.
Chen alleges the employee then gave her a bag of ice, which, according to the lawsuit, is a poor treatment for burns and can exacerbate scarring. Chen sustained first- and second-degree burns, spent three days in a hospital and has permanent scars, according to the lawsuit.
"It's amazing that they would refuse to call 911, and then give her ice treatment which makes it worse," Chen's lawyer, Kirk Boyd, said in a statement.
The lawsuit asks for financial compensation for the injuries in an amount to be determined by a jury. Arnie Wensinger, an executive vice president for the Irvine-based In-N-Out Burgers declined to comment on the lawsuit, but noted that "all In-N-Out Burger Associates are authorized to assist our customers and to call 911 in emergency situations."
In-N-Out operates in California and the southwestern United States.

—By Bay City News
R Terry May 30, 2014 at 04:38 PM
I think everyone should have to take a mental evaluation test before they are issued a driver license. Take the nuts off the street and so many of these car related issues will disappear. Not to mention those who can't differentiate between the gas and brake pedals.
TT June 04, 2014 at 11:33 AM
What a BOGUS case. A few months ago, I burned my hand, and quickly cooled the burn with cold water and ice. The next day, there was hardly any evidence that it happened. Stating that an employee refused to help and or to call 911 is even more bogus. Didn't this feckless gold digger have a cell phone? And if she were in such pain, other customers would have called 911 as well. This case has as many holes in it as swiss cheese. It seems like another case of get rich quick. Ms. Chen deserves flashy jewelry, a fancy car, and extensive plastic surgery! That's why her family came here in the first place.
Susan June 05, 2014 at 07:16 PM
Bogus - yes it sure is bogus! The plaintiff should be ashamed of herself. Didn't she see it was hot?
Pat Kittle June 08, 2014 at 02:35 PM
When I burn my hands or forearms at home I quickly stick the burn area on the surface inside my freezer -- it seems to be very effective in reducing (NOT increasing) the severity of the burn.


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