St. Louis Bread Co. responds to coffee spill burn suit

Amelia Flood Jul. 14, 2009, 10:16am

The owner of the St. Louis Bread Co. has filed a claim for contribution against the mother of an infant who was allegedly scalded by spilled coffee at its restaurant in Shiloh.

Jatonya Hopkins and Larry Hopkins Sr. are suing Panera Bread Company Inc., the parent company of St. Louis Bread Company, and Daniel Williams for damages in excess of $100,000 and costs.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien is presiding.

Panera points to what it claims was Jatonya Hopkins' own negligence in contributing and/or causing injury to her son, Larry Hopkins Jr., when coffee spilled on him.

According the Hopkins' suit, the family ordered their food and Jatonya Hopkins' order included coffee. She took the child to sit down after placing the order. Daniel Williams offered to get her the coffee. Jatonya Hopkins claims she declined the request because she wanted to feed the baby.

Williams ignored Jatonya Hopkins'wishes, the suit alleges, brought
her the drink and set it on the table behind her. Unaware of the coffee behind her, Jatonya Hopkins knocked it over while taking the child out of his car seat. The coffee spilled on the infant.

The Hopkins claim that Larry Jr. suffered burns, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish and loss of a normal life. The family also alleges that they incurred medical expenses.

Panera denies the allegations in the Hopkins' suit and points to Jatonya Hopkins' negligence and failure to take normal care as the cause of the baby's injuries.

LeChien is scheduled to hear the plaintiffs' motions to compel July 29 at 9:30 a.m.

The Hopkins are represented by Matthew Marlen of Belleville.

The Panera defendants are represented by Beth Boggs of St. Louis.

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-195.

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