- A woman claims a McDonald’s in Alabama served her coffee with a “harmful chemical.”
- Staff refused to call 911 or let them see the label on the chemical bottle, Sherry Head said.
- She filed a $13 million lawsuit against the fast-food chain, claiming the chemical harmed her.
Loading Something is loading.
A woman claims a McDonald’s restaurant in Alabama served her coffee that contained a “harmful chemical” that damaged her throat and organs.
She said staff refused to call 911 or let her and emergency responders see the label on the chemical bottle so they could determine the appropriate treatment.
The plaintiff, Sherry Head of Florida, filed a lawsuit against the fast-food giant on Sept. 19, seeking $13 million in damages. KTLA first reported on the lawsuit.
“The health and safety of our customers and employees is always our top priority,” Gerry Murphy, one of the restaurant’s owners and operators, told Insider in a McDonald’s comment.
Head ordered a caramel macchiato at the drive-thru of the McDonald’s restaurant at 3520 Ross Clark Circle, Dothan in December 2020. The lawsuit says she was told by an employee that she couldn’t have the coffee because the machine was being cleaned. but then heard another say the plane was “ready for take off”.
The employee at the drive-thru then informed Head that her drink was ready to be served. It came with a lid on the cup, the lawsuit says.
“The plaintiff pulled herself forward, drank some of the caustic chemical liquid and immediately experienced a burning and numbing sensation in her mouth and throat,” the lawsuit says.
At that point, Head removed the lid from the cup “and saw that the liquid wasn’t coffee but appeared to be some kind of chemical,” it said.
Head retreated through the drive-thru line and told employees what happened, according to the lawsuit, after which the manager “yelled” at employees and said 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 of the chemical and asked what to do, but the manager refused access to the bottle, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit alleges the manager refused to call 911 or the poison control center and slammed the drive-through window, requiring Head to call 911 himself.
McDonald’s employees also refused to comply with emergency workers’ requests to see the bottle upon arrival, the lawsuit said.
“As a direct result of consuming the hazardous chemical preparation served to her by McDonald’s, the plaintiff sustained injuries to her mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, digestive tract and other internal organs,” the lawsuit reads. “McDonald’s behavior towards the plaintiff was cruel and absolutely intolerable.”
Head is seeking $3 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. The lawsuit was filed against McDonald’s, its Alabama branch and the two owners and operators of the franchise restaurant.
“As soon as 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 District Court of Houston County, Alabama.”
The lawsuit listed a number of other cases in which McDonald’s allegedly served customers cleaning chemicals in drinks such as iced tea, hot chocolate, lattes and colas.