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McDonald's Fined Nearly $5,000 for Spilling Coffee on 3-Year-Old Girl in Moscow

McDonald's and other fast-food chains have faced hundreds of claims from unlucky coffee drinkers.

A Moscow court on Friday ruled that McDonald's must pay 320,000 rubles ($4,850) in compensation after an employee spilled hot coffee on a 3-year-old girl, the Interfax news agency reported.

The girl's father, Alexei Karelov, had sought 5 million rubles ($75,000) when his daughter was hospitalized in April for first-degree burns to her neck and torso, the agency said. The girl was scalded when a cashier knocked over the cup of coffee while handing her a toy over the counter.

Karelov earlier rejected a settlement and a payout of 100,000 rubles. Unsatisfied with the latest ruling, his lawyer announced an appeal on Friday. "We will insist on the full amount," Karelov's lawyer said, Interfax reported.

According to Interfax, the prosecutor estimated the cost of the girl's treatment at 250,000 rubles ($3,800). Karelov is seeking a larger sum for moral damages. He said he intends to donate the money left over after his daughter's treatment to charities providing help to orphans.

A representative of McDonald's said the company was considering an appeal.

McDonald's and other fast-food chains have faced hundreds of claims from unlucky coffee drinkers. In the most famous case, American pensioner Stella Liebeck won $2.9 million in damages after spilling coffee on herself in a car in 1992, though the sum was later reduced to about $500,000, according to news reports.

A similar case in Moscow in 2006 — in which a woman spilled coffee on herself as she exited the McDonald's restaurant — was rejected by a local court after two years of wrangling, Interfax said.

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