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Customer blamed restaurant for burns caused by spilled soup








Orange County


Orange County Circuit Court, 9th

Injury Type(s):

leg-scar and/or disfigurement, leg;
burns-second degree; other-thigh; gynecological-vagina; mental/psychological-emotional distress

Case Type:

Hotel/Restaurant – Hot Beverage; Worker/Workplace Negligence

Case Name:

Yulia Koltuk v. Pollo Operations, Inc., doing business as Pollo Tropical,
No. 14-CA-12384


June 2, 2016



Yulia Koltuk (Female, 22 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Louiza Tarassova;
The Law Office of Louiza Tarassova P.A.;
Yulia Koltuk

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Richard Arabitg; M.D.; Plastic Surgery/Reconstructive Surgery; Orlando,
FL called by:
Louiza Tarassova


Pollo Operations Inc.

Defense Attorney(s):

Amanda J. Podlucky;
Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin;
Pollo Operations Inc. ■ Adam Herman;
Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin;
Pollo Operations Inc.


On Sept. 8, 2014, plaintiff Yulia Koltuk, 22, drove her vehicle to the drive-through window of a Pollo Tropical restaurant on Millenia Boulevard, in Orlando, to pick up her order of a drink and a bowl of chicken soup. She claimed that an employee handed her the soup in a take-out soup container in a paper bag. As soon as she received the soup, the bottom of the paper bag broke open and the entire contents of the soup container spilled onto Koltuk’s lap. She sustained burns on her right and left thighs. Koltuk sued Pollo Operations Inc. (doing business as Pollo Tropical), asserting claims under theories of negligence and products liability. Specifically, Koltuk argued that Pollo Operations manufactured and/or sold the soup container and paper bag to serve hot liquids but they were defective and unsafe for their intended purposes. She contended that the soup container was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, because the design did not allow the container to close securely during the delivery of the soup. The paper bag was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, because the design allowed the bottom of the bag to break easily due to the weight and/or moisture of the contents placed inside. Koltuk further alleged that Pollo Operations failed to use due care in testing and/or inspecting the soup container and paper bag, and failed to properly warn about the condition of the container and bag. She asserted the employee (s) were negligent for allowing the soup to become dangerously hot, exceeding the 155-degree safe maximum. Prior to trial, Koltuk voluntarily dismissed the products liability claim. Koltuk’s negligence claim proceeded to trial. Koltuk claimed that Pollo was negligent for allowing hot soup to be placed only in a paper bag instead of an additional, more durable plastic bag, especially since it was the company’s policy to use a plastic bag. According to Koltuk, there had been a similar incident one year earlier. Pollo Operations denied negligence, and argued that the spilled soup was merely an accident. The company noted that it serves millions of soups each year and such an incident was a rare occurrence.


After the incident, Koltuk drove to a local emergency room. She sustained second-degree burns to both thighs and a burn to her genitalia. She underwent burn and wound care. Koltuk claimed permanent scarring and disfigurement of her thighs. For more than one year, she was unable to wear shorts or short skirts because of sun exposure. The scars caused her embarrassment and she was traumatized and suffered emotional distress. She also claimed she became depressed after the incident and did not want to socialize. Her mother testified that Koltuk changed after the incident and is less outgoing, more reserved, and continues to wear long dresses and pants. Koltuk’s treating plastic surgeon opined that she required scar-revision surgery as result of her burns to her thighs. Koltuk sought damages for past and future medical expenses and past and future pain and suffering. She also sought punitive damages. Counsel for Pollo argued that Koltuk had healed, that she only spent $500 on medical bills, and that she suffered minimally.


The jury found that Pollo Operations was negligent and determined Koltuk’s damages at $250,593.

Yulia Koltuk: $593 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $125,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $125,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering

Trial Information:


John Marshall Kest

Trial Length:


Trial Deliberations:


Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel declined to contribute.