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A woman sued McDonald’s for $13 million, accused staff at an Alabama restaurant of serving her coffee with chemicals, then refused to call 911 after her throat ‘burned’

  • A woman claims that a McDonald’s branch in Alabama poured her coffee with a ‘harmful chemical’.
  • The staff refused to call 911 or show her the label on the chemical bottle, Sherry Head said.
  • She filed a $13 million lawsuit against the fast food chain, alleging the chemical harmed her.

A woman claims a McDonald’s restaurant in Alabama poured her coffee with a “harmful chemical” that damaged her throat and organs.

She said staff refused to call 911 or show her and emergency services the label on the chemical bottle so they could determine the appropriate treatment.

The plaintiff, Florida Sherry Head, filed a lawsuit against the fast food giant on September 19, seeking $13 million in damages. KTLA first reported on the lawsuit.

“The health and safety of our customers and employees is always a top priority,” Gerry Murphy, one of the restaurant’s owners, told Insider in a commentary from McDonald’s.

Head ordered a caramel macchiato at the drive-thru of McDonald’s restaurant at 3520 Ross Clark Circle, Dothan in December 2020. The lawsuit states that an employee told her she couldn’t have coffee because the machine was being cleaned, but then heard a others say the machine was “ready to use”.

The staff member at the drive-thru then told Head that her drink could be served. It came with a lid on the cup, the lawsuit said.

“Plaintiff pulled forward, drank some of the corrosive chemical liquid and immediately began to experience a burning and numbing sensation in her mouth and throat,” the lawsuit said.

At this point, Head removed the lid from the cup “and saw that the liquid was not coffee, but turned out to be some sort of chemical,” it said.

Head withdrew through the drive-thru line and told employees what had happened according to the lawsuit, after which the manager “screamed” at the staff, saying they “should have been more careful”. The manager told Head it was “fine” according to the lawsuit.

Head then asked to see the label on the bottle containing the chemical and asked what she should do, but the manager refused access to the bottle, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, the manager refused to call 911 or poison control and slammed the drive-thru window, forcing Head to call 911 himself.

McDonald’s staff also refused to comply with emergency services’ request to view the bottle once they arrived, the lawsuit alleged.

“As a direct result of drinking the dangerous chemical concoction McDonald’s served her, Plaintiff sustained injuries to her mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, digestive tract and other internal organs,” the lawsuit said. “McDonald’s conduct towards the plaintiff was appalling and utterly intolerable.”

Head is seeking $3 million in damages and $10 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit was filed against McDonald’s, the Alabama branch, and the two owner-operators of the franchise restaurant.

“Immediately after we learned of this concern, we conducted a thorough investigation to understand the facts,” Murphy told Insider. “We are aware of the complaint filed in the Houston County, Alabama District Court.”

The lawsuit listed a series of other cases where McDonald’s allegedly served cleaning chemicals to customers in drinks, including iced tea, hot chocolate, lattes and colas.

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