MONTREAL - A Tim Hortons store is liable for over $69,000 after hot soup caused a "personal tsunami" of pain in a Montreal woman's mouth, a judge has ruled.
The judge agreed with Lucie Laflamme's claim that the cream of potato and bacon soup was "excessively hot" and caused "severe burning" and "years of pain and loss of taste."
On Aug. 14, 1998, the city engineering technician entered the restaurant and ordered soup while nursing a sore throat, said Superior Court judge Mark G. Peacock in his ruling, which came down last week.
He described what he calls Laflamme's "fateful choice" to take the first spoonful.
"She ... testified that it was 'like eating fire,'" judge Peacock ruled. "She testified that she had never eaten anything so hot. Ms. Laflamme also testified that this one soup-spoonful was her own personal 'tsunami' which completely changed her life."
She said she visited an emergency room, a clinic and even a dentist's office but the pain wouldn't go away.
Laflamme said she never returned to her job, went on permanent disability and was laid off in 2006.
She claimed the Tim's "knew or should have known" that the soup was excessively hot.
The company contends the soup was served "at about 170 (degrees) Fahrenheit," which they said was an industry standard.
But the judge pointed to the defendants' own admission that their soup was, in fact, heated to a level that could have caused "serious" mouth burns.
Furthermore, Peacock said the restaurant's bowls did not include warnings to that effect.
He awarded Laflamme $69,454.59 in damages.