Lawsuit claims employee was negligent but store operator disputes that

Jim Walsh, Vineland Daily Journal
Published 5:02 a.m. ET April 26, 2021


Robert Wright, owner of Wright Construction in Pitman, N.J., speaks about the surge in lumber costs and the impact it has on general contractors.

Vineland Daily Journal

VINELAND – A local man has sued a Dunkin’ store here, contending he was severely burned when an employee spilled his “scalding coffee” onto his lap.

Leonard Allen claims he suffered second-degree burns in the Aug. 25, 2020, incident at a doughnut shop on the 700 block of Chestnut Avenue.

But the store’s operator, Vineland Donuts Inc., has denied liability and asserts its worker was not negligent.

A separate but similar suit against Wawa ended last year with a $3-million settlement for a young burn victim and her mother.

The Wawa suit alleged a clerk caused a cup of hot tea to spill onto a preschool girl at a convenience store in Neptune, Monmouth County. The child suffered second- and third-degree burns over her upper body in the April 2018 incident.

Wawa and its insurer did not admit liability under the settlement.

In the current suit, Vineland Donuts has asserted multiple defenses against Allen’s claim, including a claim that the spill resulted from “an unavoidable act insofar as the defendant is concerned and was the direct result of an Act of God.”

The lawsuit says Allen ordered a medium coffee at the store’s drive-through window and that an employee caused the cup’s contents to spill onto him.

It alleges the employee “failed to secure the cup and lid of the beverage … and was otherwise negligent.”

The hot beverage caused “immediate and agonizing pain to (Allen’s) thigh and groin area,” says the suit, filed by attorney Durann Neil in Atlantic County Superior Court.

The suit seeks unspecified damages from Vineland Donuts, claiming the business “served their coffee in a Styrofoam cup at an extreme temperature beyond human consumption.”

It also names the unidentified donut-shop worker as a defendant.

Jim Walsh reports for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal. His interests include crime, the courts and being first with breaking news. Reach him at

Help support local journalism with a subscription.

Don’t miss a thing

Search for the Courier-Post to get our apps Download our apps and get alerts for local news, crime, weather, traffic and more. Search “Courier-Post” in the app store or use these links from your device: iPhone app | Android app | iPad app. And be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Read or Share this story:

Read MoreLawsuit claims employee was negligent but store operator disputes that

Related Posts

Daily News

Don't miss it