A woman who claimed she needed a skin graft because she was burned by hot tea at Starbucks lost her bid for damages yesterday as a federal appeals court rejected her attempt to have the case remanded to state court. Rachel Moltner said she struggled with the lid of a “venti” hot tea at a Manhattan Starbucks in 2008, and it spilled on her foot. She sought medical treatment and, once in the hospital, suffered other injuries, which prompted her to seek $3 million in damages.

But Southern District Judge Loretta A. Preska granted summary judgment for Starbucks in 2009, rejecting Ms. Moltner’s claims, saying “no reasonable fact finder could conclude that the tea’s 190ºF temperature took plaintiff by surprise.” Ms. Moltner had sued in state court in July 2008, and Starbucks responded by asking for the amount of damages she was seeking. Once it learned she was seeking $3 million, Starbucks filed notice of removal to federal court that October. Ms. Moltner argued the removal was untimely, but yesterday, in a seven-page per curiam opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with Judge Preska’s decision to deny a remand to state court.

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