Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Alton casino denies liability in customer’s suit over spilled complimentary coffee; Claims guest voluntarily exposed herself to ‘open and obvious’ risk with hot coffee

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jun 23, 2015

Argosy Casino in Alton denied liability in a woman’s lawsuit alleging she was burned when she spilled complimentary hot coffee on her hand, saying the customer voluntarily exposed herself to a known risk.

Deborah Stinger filed her suit on May 4 against Alton Casino LLC, doing business as Argosy Casino Alton.

According to the complaint, Argosy Casino customarily provides complimentary beverages to its clientele. Stinger, a customer on the defendant’s premises on Sept. 20, 2013, obtained a complimentary cup of coffee at the beverage station. She claims that when she turned from the beverage area, she spilled the coffee on her hand, allegedly causing severe burns.

Stinger claims the defendant knew or should have known of the coffee’s extreme temperature; and that it failed to exercise ordinary care to properly prepare and maintain the brew’s degree of warmth.

Argosy Casino denied the allegations in its May 29 answer, arguing that hot coffee is an “open and obvious condition” and its conduct was “reasonable, prudent and common in the industry and met the commonly accepted industry standards.”

“To the extent any warning may be required to warn a person that coffee is hot, defendant provided adequate warning,” the answer states.

Therefore, Argosy Casino claims any alleged damages were caused by the plaintiff’s own negligence and carelessness.

The plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

Stinger is represented by Julia Kerr of Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis.

Argosy Casino is represented by Gregg A. Kinney of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-556

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