Published: 00:01, 16 May 2014 |
Updated: 12:08, 16 May 2014
A restaurant owner has been left stunned after discovering she is being sued by a customer who says she burned herself on coffee.
Chef Emma Dowling, who runs Salt in Palace Street with her partner Lee, 37, has branded the legal action “ridiculous”.
The complainant, a woman from Whitstable, claims she hurt her arm due to a faulty cafetiere while dining there last year.
But Miss Dowling, 26, says she received no complaint at the time, and is still using the same cafetieres, none of which are broken.
She says: “We got a solicitors’ letter asking who our insurer is so they can make a claim. It says they didn’t seek medical attention for the burn.
“It’s really upsetting. If someone sued a place like McDonald’s it wouldn’t affect them too much but we’re a small, independent business.
"Luckily we have insurance, but if we didn’t and the claim was successful, it would close us down.
“It’s really upsetting. If someone sued a place like McDonald’s it wouldn’t affect them too much but we’re a small, independent business" - Emma Dowling
“You hear about these ridiculous no win, no fee lawsuits in America. It’s a shame it’s now happening over here.”
The claim echoes the famous Hot Coffee Case in 1994, when 79-year-old Stella Liebeck successfully sued McDonald’s for $2.7 million after she spilled coffee on her lap.
Liebeck versus McDonald’s Restaurants is often used as an example of frivolous litigation. It led to a HBO documentary called Hot Coffee, which explored how the case prompted reforms in civil law.
Miss Dowling, who celebrated Salt’s one year anniversary on Tuesday, is to seek legal advice.
Don't miss out, subscribe today. Keep up to date with our newsletters.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.