Cup maker and Java Junction in hot water over cocoa spill

By Steve Gonzalez | Sep 8, 2005

The mother of a St. Jacob girl who claims second and third degree burns from a hot chocolate spill filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court Sept. 6, seeking damages in excess of $450,000.

Paula Simmons claims her daughter, Paige, was burned when a rigid foam cup manufactured by co-defendant Solo Cup Company fell out spilling the contents on her daughter’s legs.

Simmons purchased the "Chocolate Steamer" from co-defendant Java Junction, located at 406 Keokuk in Lincoln, Ill. on April 20, 2002.

Owned by Charles and Gail Scakett, Java Junction is accused of carelessly serving hot chocolate in a defective cup, failing to inspect the cup and failing to warn Simmons of the condition of the cup.

“Solo Cup Company failed to provide adequate warnings to users that the bottom of the cup would fall out and should have known that such a warning was reasonably necessary to avoid potential injury,” the complaint states.

Simmons claims her daughter sustained permanent injuries to her right foot and leg, suffered physical pain and mental anguish and has been prevented from attending to her regular duties and affairs.

The girl was 6-years-old when the incident took place.

According to the complaint, the third co-defendant, Erie Insurance, took possession of the foam cup and assured Simmons' lawyer, Ronald Motil of Glen Carbon, that it would safeguard the cup.

Simmons claims that Erie breached its duty to preserve the cup in an unaltered condition by knowingly destroying the cup--or lost it--without the consent of her or her attorney.

“Simmons has been deprived of her ability and right to have the foam cup tested and analyzed by experts of her own choice,” the complaint states.

The case will be assigned to the new circuit judge once the Illinois Supreme Court announces who will fill the vacancy left when Judge Philip Kardis retired Sept. 2.

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