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A Davis County woman alleges she suffered severe damage to her esophagus at the Starbucks in Clinton after drinking coffee that contained a cleaning solution.
A lawsuit filed last week in Utah's 2nd District Court claims Cheryl Kingery ingested Urnex, a specialty cleaning product for coffee and espresso equipment, on a July 25, 2012, visit to Starbucks.
In addition to damage to the esophagus the tube that delivers food from the mouth to the stomach the toxic substance Kingery drank has caused Burning Mouth Syndrome; loss of taste; numbness in lips and tongue; and oral nerve ending damage, according to the suit.
The suit, which names the Seattle-based Starbucks Corporation and John Does I-V as defendants, alleges the company was negligent in one or more ways: Employees created a dangerous condition and failed to remedy it; employees knew or should have known of the dangerous condition but failed to take adequate steps to prevent injury to its customers; or the chain failed to adequately train its workers.
"The safety of our customers is our highest priority," Laurel Harper, a Starbucks spokeswoman, said Tuesday. "We take this obligation seriously and are investigating Ms. Kingery's claims."
The incident already has cost Kingery more than $186,000 in medical expenses, wage loss and household expenses, the suit says. It says that based on current medical recommendations, future economic damages are expected to reach nearly $1.4 million.
The suit, filed July 22, is seeking an unspecified amount of money for economic damages, as well as non-economic damages that include pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In an unrelated case, a Utah woman was critically injured last year at a South Jordan Dickey's Barbecue when she drank iced tea that was contaminated with a chemical mixture used as a degreaser. Jan Harding suffered burns to her throat and esophagus from the compound, which apparently was mistaken for sugar by employees. She later reached a confidential settlement with the restaurant chain.