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Girls gets $1million for hot chicken nugget burn

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A little girl in Florida was awarded NZ$1.29 million in damages after she was burned by a hot Chicken McNugget that fell on her leg in a McDonald’s drive-thru.

The girl, Olivia Caraballo, was 4 years old when she was burned in 2019. Her mother, Philana Holmes, was driving away from the McDonald’s in Tamarac, near Fort Lauderdale, when the nugget fell on Olivia’s leg. The nugget was so hot that it caused second-degree burns.

Holmes testified that she had purchased Happy Meals for her son and daughter, who was sitting in the back seat, and was driving away when the nugget fell on the child’s leg. She said that the girl screamed in pain, and when she pulled over in a parking lot, she realised the nugget was lodged between Oliva’s thigh and the seat belt.

The mother testified that at no point did McDonald’s warn her the food might be unusually hot. The company testified they follow food safety rules, which require McNuggets to be hot enough to avoid salmonella poisoning, and that what happens with the food once it leaves the drive-thru window is beyond their control.

A jury decided in May that McDonald’s and its franchise owner were liable for the injury. On Wednesday, the jury awarded Olivia Caraballo NZ$1.29 million in damages.

Olivia’s mother said she was “happy” with the verdict. “I’m actually just happy that they listened to Olivia’s voice and the jury was able to decide a fair judgment,” she said.

The lawyers for McDonald’s declined to comment after the verdict.

This is a reminder to always be careful when handling hot food, especially when children are present.