aking8488
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2000 6:32 am

NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 1:45 am

Woman claiming coffee burns sues Northwest

DETROIT (AP) — A Northwest Airlines passenger who says she suffered second-degree burns when a flight attendant spilled coffee on her has sued the company for more than $25,000.

The lawsuit by Fran Amos, an Oakland County commissioner whose oversight includes contracts for Detroit Metropolitan Airport, accuses the airline of "cold and callous corporate indifference."

Amos said she was traveling to Detroit from Washington, D.C., on March 6 when the full cup of hot coffee was spilled onto her lap.

Amos said she told the flight crew she was in severe pain but they offered no first aid or ice. When she asked for cold water, she was told to get it from the bathroom faucet, she said.

"I felt like they wanted me to disappear," Amos told The Detroit News for Wednesday's editions.

Amos said she told airline employees, "'Look at this face and remember it. I have oversight on this airport."'

"Still, no reaction," she said.

The airline will review the incident but does not comment on active litigation, spokeswoman Kathy Peach said.
 
GOT
Posts: 1843
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 6:44 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 1:49 am

Seems strange. From may point of view, don't mean to offend somebody, but it seems like when it happens anything to an american guy he will sue you. Here in Europe that would be impossible. Just seem so strange.

GOT
Just like birdwatching - without having to be so damned quiet!
 
PHLflyer
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 12:11 pm

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 1:49 am

I can not believe she is only suing for USD 25,000!!! A few years ago, a woman spills her own coffer in her lap going through the drive thru at McDonalds and sues for millions and wins. She said the coffe was too hot, imagine that, hot coffee!
 
747-600X
Posts: 2492
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2000 3:11 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:06 am

I'm not sure what to think. I think suing (sp?) for coffee spills is pretty dumb, but the indifference thing is just rude. Even in Europe if you empty your pot of coffee over someone you at least apologize! But you're right about that - people have spilled things on me before and I really can't imagine even wanting to make that big of a fuss over it. If you ask me, the woman probably tripped the flight attendant so it would happen because she wanted to copy the McDonalds incident so she could get rich and chose 25k to make it sound reasonable (as opposed to the McD's millions) and still have a pretty good bit of cash comin' at her and the f/a was unresponsive because she knew she'd been tripped and wasn't sure if she should be polite to the woman or throttle her.
 
pmk
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 10:07 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:11 am

If this is as claimed, being a frequent NWA flyer I can believe it, I don't think $25,000 is wrong. I am a champion of Tort reform, however when on an airliner the passengers expect safety and are so guaranteed. However not offering aid and comfort to a an injured person is cold and callous. I was on a flight, with a cheap charter carrier, the F/A spilled some softdrink on a passenger while clearing the service items for landing. The F/A immediately filled out an incident report, did NWA file one? I've got a half used tube of blistex that says they didn't.


Peter
 
Braniff727
Posts: 656
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2000 2:25 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:12 am

Another thing to consider, and I don't know if this is the case at NWA, but when I went through safety training at the Walt Disney Company, I was told that when a guest in involved in an accident, never apologize. By apologizing, you admit fault which of course is like being caught with your pants down in the companies eyes.

Since that day of training, I have never apologized to anyone when injury or damage is involved. The legal profession in this country would certainly hang me out to dry if I ever did!
Climbing
 
chiawei
Posts: 924
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2000 9:07 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:15 am

I disagree. I believe that NW should be sued for this.

This is very different from the McDonald case. The pax did not ask the coffee to be spilled on her. And the crew should take more action to ease.

Second degree burn is a very serious burn.
 
aking8488
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2000 6:32 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:16 am

I forgot to say I got this off the USA Today Website. I echo many of your sentiments in that it's difficult to tell exactly what happened. I wonder what other variables might be involved-- e.g. turbulence? However, rude behavior after such an incident is indeed inexcusable. I don't know about 25K worth though.
 
VirginA340
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 12:35 pm

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:20 am

I think she should be awarded the money enoguh to pay off mediacla bills. By the way I've seen second degreee burns. They'll make you sick just by looking at them an a stay at a burn unit will run you up into the tens of thousands not including seeing a doctor or rehabilitaion. NWA should give her the cash to also avoid negative PR. If JAL or ANA did this to a Japaneese business man they would pay with no questions asked and then the CEO wouls personally apoligize for the incident.
"FUIMUS"
 
Braniff727
Posts: 656
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2000 2:25 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:23 am

I don't know, every time I fly NWA I personally ask to have coffee spilled on me.

Of course she didn't! I don't think there is a person here that would think she did, but let's say a passenger accidentally triped the FA, or there was some 'act of God' that caused this. Should NWA be sued? Do you really think the FA did this on purpose? If so, then I say discontinue all service items on all flights! God forbid someone might choke on a grape or a bite of a sandwich!

While she's at it, she should sue Caravali for making the coffee!
Climbing
 
pmk
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 10:07 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:29 am

Okay, let's stop for a minute and think. REGARDLESS of the cause, the F/A should have offered first aid. For not providing or offering first aid they should be sued, is $25,000 too much, probably, is $2500 too much, no. In any case an incident report should have been filed to reimburse the passenger for the cleaning bill!

Peter
 
Braniff727
Posts: 656
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2000 2:25 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:42 am

I agree with PMK, IF they did not provide first aid. That has yet to be determined. NW is not saying anything since it's in litigation, but the plantiff is.

I think, all opinions aside, we'll have to see how this plays out. Additionally, if First Aid was not offered, I think the FA's responsible should be fired, after all safety is the reason they are there!
Climbing
 
Guest

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:45 am

Wait a minute, I thought Northwest's service has gotten much better and their reputation just hadn't caught up. Doesn't this woman know that Northwest is much better than it used to be? There was no spilled coffee. There could be no spilled coffee. NW is now much better.

Maybe the spilled coffee was a second cup and the FA's expected her to be grateful.

Skippy
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:45 am

Speaking purely from a liability point of view, the F/A acted appropriately. As Braniff727 pointed out, employees are trained NEVER to apologize in a situation where a liability suit may arise (such as this one). Additionally, if the employee attempted to provide first aid, they would be indirectly admitting that there was physical injury caused by the incident.

IMHO, the FA acted in the smartest way possible to reduce the potential liability for themselves as well as NWA. Accidents happen, and damage control after the fact is the only way to reduce their negative effects on the corporation.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
fbwless
Posts: 202
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2000 2:07 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:50 am

I was on a SAS domestic flight once and when we hit some turbulence (captain turned on the fasten seat belts sign). A business man spilled coffee on his pants and without him even saying one word, a flight attendent rushed forward and asked if he needed assistance right away. She then told him that SAS would pay for a new pair of pants and someone would assist him with the purchase at the airport on arrival.

That's what I call service ...
 
PHLflyer
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 12:11 pm

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:51 am

Maybe there was a second pourer behind the grassy knoll.
 
pmk
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 10:07 am

RE:Braniff727

Thu Apr 05, 2001 3:30 am

Braniff727:

Maybe you should take the same risk management classes I have to! If this is as stated, allow me to summarize this leaving out the motivations for the alleged coffee spiling and who spilled it. An injured passenger was denied first aid care. I also know Disney's "famous" safety training. If a child trips, falls, and skins their knee at WDW on an uneven piece of concrete a cast member is not to apologize, however is supposed to direct them to the first aid station and provide transport if necessary. In the NWA situation the best course of action, following your logic, would have been. The F/A who allegedly spilled the coffee would have paid no attention, however the F/A behind him/her should have responded to the woman's injuries, called the flight deck and the captain would have immediately landed the plane at the nearest airport and had medics waiting at the gate. This is MADNESS! The F/A should have asked "Is there a problem?" That statement does not admit guilt, asking "what is the problem implies that the F/A sees a problem, "Is there a problem?" does not. The PAX would have answered "You spilled coffee on me and I burned my leg" The F/A should then have informed the flight deck that a passenger has recieved a burn from spilled coffee. The Captain would have told the F/A to fill out an incident report and to handle the situation. The Lead F/A and another F/A should have administered first aid, If the passenger asked for it, and that would have diffused the situation. NWA aparently did not do this, they are liable for not providing first aid to an injured person. I work in the gaming industry, believe me I know legal liability and CYA, NWA screwed up.

Peter
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 3:43 am

First, I wasn't on that flight. Nor were any of you posting in this thread. You've got the plaintiff's word only. That's not enough to determine if NW should be required to pay or not. Gotta have both sides.

FBWless - the incident you described on SAS might be more common on US carriers, but the way the US is, if a FA did that, then, as Braniff727 points out, the airline has admiitted "guilt" and opens themselves up for a nice little "negligence" lawsuit. That's the way a good number of Americans are (hey I'm an American, I can say that). At the very least, they are hoping that the airline (NW in this case, but it could be anybody) offers some $$ to just drop the case. Sad, but true.
 
Guest

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 3:49 am

The lady reminds me of Kramer from Seinfeld.

-The coffee supposed to be hot.
-Not that hot!
 
Guest

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 4:19 am

Because the spill was supposedly the fault of one of the FAs, the woman should sue and should win enough money to pay for all medical expenses, paid work-leave, travel expenses to and from the hospital, and travel vouchers for public relations sake. A mere $25,000 may not be enough to cover all expenses involved.

Also, if I was one of the flight attendants on that flight, I would be nervous.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 4:30 am

AKDan - Everyone in America has the right to sue, that's one of the benefits of living here. But, without hearing both sides of the story, how can you claim she should win? Just curious.
 
Braniff727
Posts: 656
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2000 2:25 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 4:35 am

PMK

Yes I agree with you, but what I also said is that we also need to wait to see what happened.

As I said, if in fact no one offered first aid, then they are at fault, however that has yet to be determined.

I've worked in the hospitality and retail industries for well over 8 years, and when it comes to things like this, I'm sorry, I don't care if she is a lawyer, senator or a cleaning lady; I don't believe what one person says happens.

Until we hear more from ALL sides, I don't want to pass judgement either way. Legally speaking, it's a bit premature to conclude that NWA is respnsible, based on only the plantiff's statement, don't you think?
Climbing
 
Guest

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 4:45 am

In regards to Goingboeing.

Everything I wrote was based on the premise that it was the flight attendants fault. That being said, I think the woman should sue and should win.

Even if it wasn't the crew's fault, but they still neglected to offer her assistance, I think she still has the right to sue.

You are right, we don't know NWA's side of the story. I want to though!
 
tsully
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 5:02 pm

Gold Digger

Thu Apr 05, 2001 5:56 am

Some Americans live for the opportunity to sue anyone for anything. They're nothing more than scandalous gold diggers.

After all, did the NWA FA set out with malice of forethought to spill hot coffee on this broad? If that can be proven, then NWA deserves to be sued. But the fact is that won't be proven and therefore this woman is trying to build her entire case based on an unfortunate accident.

And are we to trust her account of the FA's non-willingness to administer aid after the accident occurred? I'm inclined to not accept her account of what happened before witnesses are heard.

I hope this lunatic gets laughed right out of the courtroom…
But as we all know, in America you can sue anyone for anything and get a nice settlement (in or out of court). This reminds me of when a companion pass traveler sued the airline for not putting him in first class. As later to be discovered, first class was full and operating procedure put this clown in the back of the bus. I don’t know if he won his case – I sincerely doubt it, but in American you never know.
I love America. I guess that makes me Bush's poodle, but I'd rather be a dog in New York City than a prince in Riyadh.
 
nwa747-400
Posts: 1325
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 2:54 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 8:07 am

"Wait a minute, I thought Northwest's service has gotten much better and their reputation just hadn't caught up. Doesn't this woman know that Northwest is much better than it used to be? There was no spilled coffee. There could be no spilled coffee. NW is now much better.

Maybe the spilled coffee was a second cup and the FA's expected her to be grateful.

Skippy"



Your immaturity really shows.
 
Guest

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 8:20 am

>>A mere $25,000 may not be enough to cover all expenses involved.

Should be. Let's see, $5,000 for the lady and $20,000 for attorneys. That sounds about right.

 
Guest

RE: Nwa747-400

Thu Apr 05, 2001 8:43 am

Nwa747-400,
Just because Northwest has gotten much better doesn't mean that the "coffee spill" incident didn't occur. Do we (the forum members) even know the whole story? Let's not be too quick to pass judgement; for all we know the woman could have bumped into the F/A and caused her to spill the coffee!

Something similar has happened me on a flight and the passenger next to me said to sue. I didn't because I knew it was an accident.
 
ny-jfk-lga
Posts: 331
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2000 2:09 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 12:15 pm

You guys, just remember, it could be super hot coffee, or ice cold soda, you're flying in the air and never know when you'll hit rough air. Now, this incident had nothing to do with that, but it COULD happen that way. There's only so much an F/A can do if you hit rough air handing someone hot coffee and it spills. But otherwise, how in the world did this spill on the woman if it wasn't because of rough air? This seems strange. Because F/A's are SO carefull in what they do and how they do it. But in any event, those burns seem really bad. Airlines should not serve super hot coffee in midair like that because first of all, it makes no sense if its super hot and you can't drink it. Just make it warm enough, so if an accidental spill should happen, it'd be alright. This is ridiculous. The woman should get the money for medical bills from NW, but this won't happen anytime soon again.
Bring back McDonnell Douglas & T W A!!
 
Alpha 1
Posts: 12343
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:12 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 12:38 pm

Well, at least no one got pile-driven in this one.

It's amazing how so many jump to conclusions on things like this. We've become such an impatient society when it comes to wanting answers, that we literally stampede lawyers/the media/everyone else into giving us instintaneious answers. It happens on airplane crashes all the time, and it certainly happens in high-profile trials.

Why can't we just chill a little, let the fact be heard, and hope to hell the jury isn't made up of a bunch of buffoons like we saw in the Davis/Sottile case? THEN we an all rip the woman or NW to shreds!
 
fspilot747
Posts: 3455
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 1999 2:58 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 1:12 pm

Why don't we stop for a second and consider what a 2nd degree burn is. Only one person has mentioned this, and it should be discussed. A second degree burn is a very serious burn. It destroys the second layer of skin, and people have died from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. This was only on her lap though (I'm assuming), so she was lucky, but burns have a serious affect on blood vessels, and can cause swelling. And another thing, a second degree burn is excruciatingly PAINFUL. For some reason though, I find it hard to believe that the flight-attendent(s) didn't give any attention to such a serious situation. I think the lady is being more than generous suing for just 25k. NWA screwed this one up bigtime.

-FSPilot747
 
AerLingus
Posts: 2280
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2000 9:22 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Thu Apr 05, 2001 2:38 pm

2,500 dollars was probably only covering pain, suffering and medical fees.
Get your patchouli stink outta my store!
 
rootsgirl
Posts: 512
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 3:48 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Fri Apr 06, 2001 8:39 am

B747-437B, there you go again!! The last time I read your input is when you told me to "keep doing my safety demos", and told me I was full of S___. Now that was a perfect example of "Brashness" on your behalf.

Now you are stating that the f/a was in the right by NOT administering first aid. Back to our last on line contact. When was the last time you flew, if ever? Live safety demos went out a long time ago--it's the age of techology and video.

Secondly, for someone who is as "corporate minded" as you claim to be (I see you use your favorite word "corporation" on this posting too) you should realize that failing to aplogize or administer first aid is a direct demonstration of Negligence---a word that an airline does not want to be associated with - ever!

All airline mandates and regulations are set in place for a reason - to protect the company.

It is the airline or the airline corporations' OBLIGATION to provide a passenger with First Aid, refusing to do so would go against the contents of the FAM - Flight Attendant Manual. First Aid is part of the MANDATORY duties of a flight attendant, this is why all F/A's are proficient in it.

There is a way in which to apologize to the pax without admitting guilt. ie: "How may I best assist you" "I am so sorry for the inconvenience", "let me get you a towel" " we will fill out a dry cleaning voucher for you" "do you need anything else".

No disrespect to Braniff 727. His input is valid, but Disney World's policies are not airline policies. Airlines are responsible for the safety and well being of passengers. Jet Joc and PMK get the picture regarding the situation. There are set procedures and policies in place regarding spills and an incident report must be completed after First Aid is administered. I don't believe the flight attendants refused to give her medical attention, there is more to this than meets the eye.
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Fri Apr 06, 2001 11:54 am

Ah Rootsgirl, what a refreshing surprise to see you on this thread. You are fast becoming my new nemesis, eh?  Smile

I don't recall ever saying you were full of sh*t. You are pretty spunky for a Canadian though, so I will actually answer your post.

I haven't flown for almost a week now, so there are serious withdrawal symptoms setting in. However, a vast majority of my 50 flight segments this year have tended to be on DL's MD80s or NW's DC9s where live in the flesh safety demos are the only way to go. I guess things are more advanced in the great white north.

However, I can't really say the same about your company's liability policies (look, there I go talking about corporations again - silly me!). As a certified first responder myself, we spent a large chunk of time during our training studying the liability issues involved in providing on-scene treatment to victims. Part of this training dealt with our responsibilities in a situation where the victim may have legal recourse against us for negligence either leading to the incident or resulting from the incident. In those situations, we were specifically told to react based upon OUR analysis of the situation rather than that of the victim.

In this specific situation, the FA may have made the judgement call that the situation was not severe enough to warrant first aid, and may have used that as the basis to deny first aid based upon their training and experience. He/she examined the situation and as long as they can articulate the specific reasons for making that judgement call, they are well within their rights to make it. This does not constitute negligence, provided they made that analysis of the situation before denying care.

However, I am glad to know that the stewardesses on RootsAir will always assist me after they spill hot coffee. I also hope that the company will back them up after they get sued for every penny they are worth, and then some.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
CPDC10-30
Posts: 4681
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2000 4:30 pm

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Fri Apr 06, 2001 11:58 am

Didn't United Airline bring up this topic a while ago?
 
ny-jfk-lga
Posts: 331
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2000 2:09 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Fri Apr 06, 2001 12:40 pm

Plain and SIMPLE, STOP SERVING COFFEE THAT HOT. Isn't it true no one could drink coffee THAT SCALDING HOT? I mean c'mon now, she should get the money for the medical expenses, but serving drinks that hot should be immediately stopped. This whole thing is just SO ridiculous. But still HOW did this spill happen? No one knows? How did the F/A spill this, I want to know. I'm sure there's a LOT more to this than we all not see, but assume. My sympathy goes out to that lady with the burn(s) though. But I want to fully consider NW's side of the story too.
Bring back McDonnell Douglas & T W A!!
 
Alpha 1
Posts: 12343
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2001 12:12 am

Rootsgirl

Fri Apr 06, 2001 12:54 pm

Note to you vis-a-vis B747-437B: lift leg, open mouth, place foot firmly in mouth and chomp!

You should NEVER ask someone who flies a ton of segments each year if he's ever flown before. Big mistake. BIG mistake!  Big grin
 
A330_DTW
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 9:29 am

RE: NW Sued For Coffee Spill

Fri Apr 06, 2001 10:21 pm

I was working the day this happened. The woman, Fran Amos, was very nice and very polite. She was asked by the groundstaff if she needed any assistance or medical attention. She declined having EMS come to the gate and check her out.
A friend of hers took her to the restroom and when they came out they said she was fine.

The first person off the flight, however, was this "Overseer" of the Detroit airport, or whatever she claimed to be. She came off, shouting, "You've got a lawsuit on your hands from spilled coffee! I run this airport and I'm going to sue!"

Ms Amos said she did not know the "overseer" woman personally, and she said nothing about suing the airline.

I'd like to see if this woman who runs DTW has any outstanding debts or financial problems since she's taken such an interest in Ms. Amos. She didn't even stick around after the flight landed to see if Ms. Amos was all right!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: aflyingkiwi, AirbusOnly, Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], Coal, eaa3, georgiabill, Jambost, JeremyB, mafaky, NZdsgnr, rhuns, SPEEDJACK, Waterbomber and 268 guests