The North Carolina cop who sued Starbucks over a spilled hot coffee incident in 2012 appeared in court this week, where it was determined that he drove home before seeking medical assistance. This may put a huge dent in the officer’s mission to obtain compensation from one of the nation’s most popular coffee chains.
USA Today reports that Matthew Kohr, a police officer with the Raleigh Police Department, testified in court that he was seized in pain in January, 2012, after the lid of his hot coffee popped off as he was starting to sit down in a Raleigh Starbucks, off of Peace Street. He was provided free coffee as a courtesy to police officers.
Kohr claims that after the coffee spilled on his lap, causing intense pain, he immediately ran back to his police cruiser. Yet, instead of driving to the nearest emergency room, he drove his police cruiser to the station, where he then got into his own vehicle, and returned home.
Kohr states that he returned home so that his wife could take pictures of the burn marks on his thighs, but over two hours lapsed before he went to seek professional medical care. The attorney representing Starbucks, Tricia Derr, quickly pointed out in court last week that he should have gone directly to urgent care.
“You didn’t go the emergency room. You didn’t go to urgent care. You went to get your truck.”
However, Kohr indicated that he knew he would need to document his injuries for his employer, and decided that he needed to get pictures taken as soon as possible. He also stated that a lawsuit against Starbucks was not on his mind at the time.
“Lawsuit never crossed my mind that day. Did it later? Yes.”
Kohr, who suffers from Chrohn’s disease, said the the third-degree burns resulted in sleepless nights, anxiety, and loss of intimate relations with his wife. However, the defense argued that Kohl’s proven use of steroids can affect his mental state and cause both anxiety and sleeplessness.
Sgt. Thomas Silluzio, who was with Kohr when the incident occurred, testified on the officer’s behalf, stating that the lid came off of Kohr’s coffee just as he was sitting down.
“The best way to describe it is like a jack-in-the-box. It surprised me, and I wasn’t even holding the cup.”
Meanwhile, the jury is still in deliberations. On Friday afternoon, they returned with an 11-1 decision, but the judge adjourned the trial for the evening, warning the jurors that if they cannot make a decision next week, he would declare a mistrial.
Kohl is suing Starbucks for $750,000, which includes compensation for medical bills, anxiety, pain, suffering, and loss of consortium.
[Photo Courtesy of Stephen Chernin/Stinger/Getty Images]