Woman sues Continental Airlines after hot coffee spill

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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KPRC) – A Harris County, Texas woman is suing United Airlines for more than $170,000 in damages after she says she was burned by hot coffee on a Continental Airlines flight in 2011.

The case, filed by Lourdes Cervantes, stems from a trip on Continental Flight 63 before the carriers merged.

Cervantes was flying from Madrid, Spain to Newark, New Jersey, with a final destination of Houston.

According to the lawsuit, between Madrid and Newark, a flight attendant placed coffee on Cervantes’ tray-table. The passenger in the seat in front of Cervantes reclined his seat and, according to the lawsuit, that caused the coffee to slide off the tray-table and spill into the Cervantes’ lap.

The lawsuit claims Cervantes suffered second-degree burns, severe pain and suffering that required medical treatment, and led to permanent scarring and mental anguish.

For her pain, Cervantes is seeking $170,550 in damages. That is the maximum she can sue for based on a 1999 international convention regarding international flights for countries that participate.

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