Man sues Pilot truck stop over coffee burns

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Man claims permanent scarring from hot coffee

By Bob White


By BOB WHITE bwhite@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — A Fort Knox man has filed a civil complaint against Pilot Travel Center for burns and injuries he allegedly suffered from coffee he spilled on his leg while visiting a truck stop in December. According to the suit filed in Hardin Circuit Court earlier this month, Thomas Skaggs is demanding Pilot Travel Centers compensate him for pain and suffering, permanent scarring and troubles relating to a third-degree burn caused when he spilled some coffee on his leg Dec. 2, 2007, while visiting a Mount Sterling truck stop. The complaint claims the coffee was “unfit for consumption” because it was “too hot to drink.” Elizabethtown attorney Wesley Durham is representing Skaggs in the suit. Attorneys for Pilot Travel Centers have not filed an answer to the claim. Photos included in the court record show blistered, reddened skin on an ankle and lower leg. The suit is reminiscent of a 1992 lawsuit filed against McDonald’s after 79-year-old Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, N.M., spilled some coffee on her lap while adding cream and sugar in a parked car. The suit, which ultimately was settled by McDonald’s for more than $600,000, became a poster-child for tort lawsuit reform. Liebeck initially offered to settle her claim against the fast-food chain for $20,000 to cover her $11,000 in medical costs and for her suffering. McDonald’s counter-offered the original settlement with an $800 offer. That’s when Liebeck hired Texas attorney Reed Morgan to pursue action against McDonald’s. The restaurant company now adds cream and sugar to coffees for their customers and emblazons its coffee containers with a warning of hot contents. No court dates have been scheduled in the Skaggs v. Pilot Travel Centers case. Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.