The Case of the Too Hot Tea

Starbucks Cup spilled

In the case of Tina Shih v. Starbucks Corporation (8/18/20), the California Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s granting of StarbucksMotion for Summary Judgment finding that Ms. Shih could not prevail on her causes of action for products liability (for “failing to provide adequate warnings”) or negligence (for providing a “defective cup”) because, among other things, any alleged defect in the cup did not cause Ms. Shih’s injuries.

Shih filed this action on a form complaint, alleging Starbucks “provided a defective coffee cup and sleeve that caused the spillage of boiling hot coffee onto [her] thighs.” At her
deposition Shih testified she went to a Starbucks store with her friend, and each of them ordered a cup of hot tea. When the two drinks were ready, Shih retrieved them from the store’s pick-up counter. Each drink had a lid and was “double-cupped,” meaning
the cup containing the hot tea was inserted into a second empty cup. Neither drink, however, had a sleeve around the outer cup. Continue reading