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12 April 2000 . Patrick Sawer . Evening Standard . UK  
 
McDonald's in legal hot water  
 
Families whose children suffered severe burns after allegedly being scalded by hot tea or coffee served at McDonald's are launching a 500,000 claim for compensation against the burger firm.  

McDonald's has been served with notification of intent to sue and a claim will be issued in the High Court in the next few weeks.

The claim is being led by the parents of 18-month-old Thomas Casson, who was so badly burned by tea at the Swiss Cottage branch of McDonald's that he bears the scars two years later. His brother Alfred still wakes up at night screaming about the accident he witnessed.

Thomas was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead where doctors fitted a body stocking after ruling out a skin graft. They are said to have warned his parents that his injuries were so serious he could have died.

Some of the 20 other children involved in the claim required skin graft operations. It is claimed that in one accident an 18-month-old girl spilt a cup of black coffee down her chest and developed a potentially fatal toxic shock reaction to her burns.

Ms De Vos, who is representing the plaintiffs, said: "Many of these children will be physically and potentially mentally scarred for life. Some still have to wear body stockings, which they have been told they will have to wear for several years."

McDonald's, which carries warnings on its cups about the hot contents, serves tea and coffee at between 87C and 90C. The company maintains that the temperature of its coffee meets customer demand.

A spokesman said: "We serve a lot of coffee which is popular with the vast majority of our customers who want it at the right temperature."  
 
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