A 27-year-old Irish woman spilled hot tea on herself on a Ryanair flight from Prague to Dublin last summer. Then she sued the budget carrier…and won.
Grainne Dunworth claimed that the FA who served her failed to properly secure the lid and that it consequently popped off when she lifted it. Shocked that the lid popped off, she dropped her drink, scaling her stomach and thighs.
She spent the rest of the flight in the lavatory, applying ice cubes, cream, and bandages.
The Case Hinged on Milk
Irene Haygir testified in the civil case, insisting that she and other crew members are “specially trained” to secure lids and don’t get it wrong. She claimed that when she treated passenger Dunworth, she noticed a milk sachet on her tray table and that the spilled beverage appeared milky. If Dunworth added milk, it would be irrelevant whether the drink was initially served with the lid unsecured.
Dunworth vehemently denied she added milk.
The judge sided with Dunworth and awarded her £8,880 (~$11,453).
In my law school torts class we read the case about the woman who spilled her McDonalds coffee on her lap and sued. There is actually a lot more nuance to that case can a careless woman who should have been more careful. Perhaps the same is true here. Perhaps the judge decided that hot coffee need not be scalding coffee. In other words, perhaps the judge felt this event occurred only because Ryanair served coffee hot enough to scald. In any case, I suspect 8K quid is not worth a serious burn.
top image: Ruthann / Wikimedia Commons