Virgin Australia sued after coffee burns teen's genitals


An Australian teen is suing Virgin Australia after his genitals were burnt by hot coffee on a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Sixteen-year-old Rhett Butler's thighs, groin, genitals and midriff were burnt when a cup of coffee slipped from a tray table onto his lap on the flight in May 2015.

Virgin Australia sued after coffee burns teen's genitals

Rhett Butler suffered burns when the hot coffee spilled into his lap (AAP)

A statement of claim filed in the County Court of Victoria says Rhett's father, Brian Butler, had to provide medical assistance for the rest of the long-haul flight, without help from cabin crew.

It alleges the tray table didn't have a dip to hold a cup, and it was tilting down towards Rhett in his seat.

Virgin Australia confirmed the incident, but would not say anything further about it.

"An incident did occur on flight VA2 from Los Angeles to Sydney on 3 May 2015," it said in a statement.

"Virgin Australia takes the safety and comfort of our passengers extremely seriously, however given this particular matter has not yet been resolved it would not be appropriate to comment any further."

A similar incident in 1994 in the US became famous as the McDonald's coffee case, when Stella Liebeck successfully sued the fast food chain for US$2.86 million after hot coffee spilled in her lap, giving her third degree burns. The case prompted a review of coffee serving temperatures.