The child was injured when her father, Jason A. Powell, prepared the noodles and set them on the kitchen counter to cool. His 1 year-old nephew tipped the cup over, spilling its contents onto Powell’s daughter.
The girl suffered second-degree burns to her groin area, chest, shoulder, and back. She required skin grafts and cosmetic surgery and will needed to undergo numerous reconstructive surgeries. Despite treatment, she still has scarring on her back and lower body.
The plaintiff, Kimberly Buffkin, alleges that the ramen noodle cup is defectively designed in a way that makes them more likely to tip over and spill. In 2006, a studies showed that Maruchan Instant Lunch can tip at an angle of just 21.2% due to its narrow base and tall height — far lower than the tipping-angle of bowl-shaped instant noodle cups.
For children under 5 years old, burns can occur in just a couple seconds of skin contact. Instant Lunch is especially dangerous because ramen noodles stick to the skin instead of dripping off like a liquid soup.
The lawsuit was filed in November 2013 against Maruchan Inc. and its Tokyo-based parent company Toyo Suisan Kaisha. Last week, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
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