According to a new lawsuit, a Connecticut man who ordered a hot black coffee at Starbucks was instead served a much stronger brew containing a toxic cleaning chemical.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Connecticut District Court, seeks punitive damages in excess of $75,000 for what Matthew Tyler Mitchell describes as a “horrible experience” at a Greenwich location last summer.
“In short, rather than serving Mitchell the coffee he ordered, Starbucks poisoned him on August 30 with a toxic chemical called Urnex Urn & Brewer Cleaner,” the filing states.
Mitchell, of Fairfield County, allegedly ordered a hot black coffee at Starbucks Store 806 and was served a cup with a lid containing what appeared to be the coffee he requested.
“However, after swallowing a gulp of the purported ‘coffee,’ Mitchell realised he had just ingested an as-yet-unidentified toxic substance,” the lawsuit states.
According to the filing, the chemical immediately produced a “caustic, burning sensation” in Mitchell’s mouth, throat, and stomach, causing him to become ill and cough incessantly.
The suit alleges that the customer was served a mouthful of Urnex Urn & Brewer Cleaner in lieu of his cup of coffee.
Mitchell then opened the lid and discovered the blue chemical solution “to his utter horror,” the lawsuit states, before suffering a severe dizzy spell and nausea.
Mitchell informed a Starbucks manager of his ordeal, who informed him that the error was made by a “new employee” who was unaware that a coffee brewer had been filled with the strong cleaning solution designed to dissolve residue in them, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the manager also admitted to Mitchell that the only warning system in place against serving from brewers containing the solution was an empty and upside-down cup placed on it.
According to Matthew Mitchell’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, Starbucks cut corners, which resulted in the poisoning.
This is not the first time Starbucks is alleged to have served customers the cleaning solution — Mitchell’s lawsuit alleges that at least two other customers have been poisoned with Urnex in the past, most recently in 2015. According to Mitchell’s filing, both victims have filed lawsuits against the coffeehouse chain.
Mitchell, on the other hand, claims that he suffered severe gastrointestinal problems, nausea, diarrhoea, pain in his tongue and mouth, as well as a “lingering chalk taste” after ingesting the harsh chemical.
“This terrifying incident also exacerbated his pre-existing PTSD, depression, and anxiety, resulting in increased emotional trauma and distress,” the 13-page lawsuit continues.
Urnex coffee pot cleaning solution is a highly toxic cleaning agent used to remove residue from coffee makers.
When reached for comment Tuesday, a Starbucks representative stated that the company was investigating Mitchell’s allegations.
“Our baristas exercise extreme caution when crafting beverages and ensuring a safe experience for our customers,” Starbucks told The Post in a statement. “We take this responsibility seriously and are currently investigating Mr. Mitchell’s claims.”
Meanwhile, Mitchell’s attorney charged that the Seattle-based coffee giant cut corners in the alleged poisoning.