Harris Co. woman sues airline after cup of coffee falls on lap during trans-Atlantic flight

HOUSTON - After a cup of coffee spilled on her lap during a flight from Madrid to Newark, NJ, more than a year ago, Harris County resident Lourdes Cervantes has filed suit. Recent court documents filed May 15 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas blame United Continental Holdings Inc. for the Aug. 1, 2011, incident. Cervantes was a passenger aboard Continental Airlines Flight 63 on which a stewardess placed the aforementioned cup on the tray trable in front of her lap. The suit says that, at the same time, the passenger sitting in front of Cervantes reclined his seat and caused the coffee "to slide off of the tray table and spill into the plaintiff's lap." "As a result of this, the plaintiff received second-degree burns to the inner thigh portion of her legs," the original petition says. Cervantes insists the subject event resulted in severe pain and suffering, the need for medical treatment, and permanent scarring and disfiguration of the affected areas. "The plaintiff's injuries and damages were the result of an unexpected and unusual event external to the plaintiff," the suit says. According to the complaint, the airline is liable under the Montreal Convention. Consequently, Cervantes seeks up to $170,000 in damages as well as a jury trial. She is represented by attorney Shaw Clifford of the Law Office of Shaw Clifford in Houston. Case No. 4:13-CV-1408

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