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Burger King sued for spilled hot coffee

HOUSTON, May 26 -- An insurance agent is suing a Houston-area Burger King Corp. restaurant and Sweetheart Cup Co. for scalding coffee that spilled on his legs and groin on July 27, 1993, it was announced Friday. The lawsuit is being handled by S. Reed Morgan of Seabrook, the same attorney who won a $2.8 million verdict for a woman against a McDonald's restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M. A judge later reduced the damages to $640,000.

Morgan filed the lawsuit in a Houston state district court Thursday on behalf of George Morgan, 58. The attorney and client are not related. Shortly after Morgan bought the coffee, the cup collapsed, spilling the coffee on his lap and causing severe, painful burns, the lawsuit said. It said the bottom of the Sweetheart cup simply separated from the sides. Burger King officials were unavailable for comment. In the earlier case against McDonald's, Stella Liebeck bought a cup of coffee from a McDonald's in Albuquerque and took it to a car. While holding it on her lap, she spilled the coffee, causing third-degree burns. She spent eight days in a hospital and underwent extensive skin grafts. Mark Mitchell, co-counsel for George Morgan, said the allegedly poorly designed cup makes the Burger King case different, but he said similarities will be drawn between the Burger King and McDonald's cases.

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