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Mother of Toddler Burned by Soup Files Lawsuit

A North Carolina woman is suing a ramen noodle company, alleging that design defects led to the second-degree burns her 1-year-old daughter incurred.

Fox News reports that Kimberly Buffkin filed the lawsuit against Maruchan Inc. and its parent company, Tokyo-based Toyo Suisan Kaisha, in Forsyth Superior Court. The incident referred to in the lawsuit occurred two years ago, when a boiling hot cup of noodles spilled on Buffkin’s daughter and caused severe burns.

The lawsuit alleges Maruchan Instant Lunch, the company’s single-serving instant noodle cups, are designed in a way that makes them more likely to spill. The product is packaged in a tapered Styrofoam cup and preparation involves adding boiling water to the cup and leaving it covered for a few minutes until the noodles are tender.

Buffkin’s daughter was with her father, Jason A. Powell, when the accident happened, reports Fox News. Powell had been preparing the noodles and placed the cup on the kitchen counter to cool. His 1-year-old nephew tipped the cup over and spilled the contents on the daughter, who was standing near the counter.

According to the lawsuit, the toddler incurred second-degree burns to her shoulder, chest, back and groin area. She has undergone skin grafts and cosmetic surgery and, according to Buffkin, she requires more surgeries to repair the damage, including reconstructive surgery.

Studies have investigated potential burn risks for instant soup cups. The lawsuit cites a study claiming that Maruchan Instant Lunch cups represent a high risk for tipping. The suit further states that the cup purchased by Buffkin did not have a warning about “the significant risk of tipping and/or spilling associated with the design of the cup.”

Maruchan, reportedly, denies the allegations of risk and lack of warning and blames the girl’s father, accusing Powell of negligence and inattention. The company also filed a motion to dismiss the suit.

Makers of consumer products have a legal responsibility to provide adequate instructions and safety warnings regarding any potential risks related to their products. They are also responsible for producing products that are safe for use. 

If you or someone you love is injured by an unsafe product or was injured because the company failed to provide proper safety warnings, our dedicated Raleigh personal injury attorneys may be able to help you seek compensation for any damages that incurred. Contact Kelly & West for more information.

*NOTE: Kelly & West is not representing the clients in this case.

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