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Parents seek $15M after daughter was ‘disfigured and scarred’ by hot Chicken McNugget in Florida


Opening statements commenced on Tuesday for the second trial aimed at determining the damages to be awarded to a family that sued McDonald's and its franchisee, Upchurch Foods Inc., following an incident where their 4-year-old daughter suffered severe burns from a chicken nugget, as reported by News 6 partner WPLG-TV.


Earlier this year, a different jury found both McDonald's and the franchisee partially at fault after the family claimed that a Chicken McNugget caused their daughter to be "disfigured and scarred." The jury held both parties liable for failing to warn about the foreseeable risks of harm.


In the current trial, Upchurch Foods was found negligent, but McDonald's was not held responsible for additional allegations. The parents of the girl are now seeking $15 million in damages.


The incident that led to the lawsuit occurred during a visit to the drive-thru on August 21, 2019. Philana Holmes stated that she ordered a six-piece Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal for her daughter, Olivia, at the McDonald's located at 7600 NW 57 St. in Tamarac. While in the car, Olivia accidentally dropped a nugget on her lap, which got stuck between her thigh and the vehicle's seat belt. The lawsuit argued that the nuggets were unreasonably and dangerously hot, causing severe burns to the girl's thighs and flesh, and claimed that the food served was unfit for human handling or consumption due to its temperature.


During the proceedings on Tuesday, the family's attorney presented photographs of Olivia's burn injuries, and her mother testified as the first witness. She expressed her concern about her daughter's pain and mentioned that the scar serves as a constant reminder of the incident.


The family's legal team contended that the $15 million claim was fair and reasonable, considering the permanent scar left behind. However, attorneys for McDonald's and Upchurch Foods argued that the amount was excessive, pointing out that the wound had healed and did not cause any disability.


Under cross-examination from the defense attorney, Holmes acknowledged that Olivia still enjoys Chicken McNuggets but from a different McDonald's location. She stated that her daughter had not received any further treatment for the wound or scar, apart from using silicone gel and ointment.


Later in the afternoon, one of the defense team's experts testified that despite any improvements through surgical or laser treatments, there would always be a scar on the child's leg as she grows into adulthood.


The jury is expected to receive the case and begin deliberations on Wednesday afternoon.

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