SAN DIEGO – The family of an infant burned by hot coffee at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in May of 2016 was awarded nearly $6.5 million by a federal court jury.
The family claimed a waiter placed a pot of hot coffee within the reach of their 9-month-old infant. The baby pulled the pot and spilled hot coffee on herself, suffering third degree burns.
Following the incident, Hadley Deruyver, now 3, underwent several surgeries and will require several more surgeries as she grows. Her skin will be permanently scarred and hardened.
“We would gladly trade any dollar figure to not have had Hadley gone through this,” her father, Chris DeRuyver, told FOX 5 Wednesday. “Every time she looks in the mirror she’s going to know this happened.”
The jury found Omni and negligent and awarded Hadley Deruyver $5.6 million in damages for past and future medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. The jury also awarded Hadley’s mother, father and two brothers, who witnessed the incident, a total of $879,000 in damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
“We were disappointed that the Omni failed to accept responsibility for its employee’s clear negligence and instead turned on its own customers,” stated lead trial attorney John Gomez. “We hope that today’s verdict causes Omni to take the safety of its guests much more seriously.”
Omni defended the claim by blaming the baby’s parents and nanny for failing to supervise and protect the child.