© The Irish Independent
It is claimed that the 10-year-old girl suffered disfigurement and permanent scarring following the incident on a flight from Dublin to Orlando, Florida last month.
The national flag carrier is being sued by the parents of the girl, who cannot be named. The girl was described in court documents as “a successful amateur competitive surfer”.
Her parents are seeking damages in excess of $75,000 (€65,700) and have claimed that the girl experienced pain and suffering, as well as mental anguish and embarrassment as a result of the incident.
It is claimed in court papers that there is a reasonable fear the girl could develop future physical and medical problems and have to undergo plastic surgery.
“Her activities have been limited and her ability to enjoy life has been impaired and adversely affected,” the child’s parents alleged.
“She has been caused to suffer great pain of mind and body. She has required – and will require in the future – medical care and treatment.
“Her ability to engage in her usual activities and ability to enjoy a normal childhood and life have been permanently impaired.”
According to the complaint filed with the United States District Court in Jacksonville, Florida, the girl suffered the injuries around an hour before her flight landed in Orlando on July 29.
She was asked by a flight attendant if she would like anything to drink and asked for hot tea.
The court filing said the flight attendant placed the tea in a cup holder on the girl’s tray.
However, a few minutes later the cup of tea “came out of the cup holder and came off the tray” pouring out on the girl.
This left her with “severe burns to her upper thighs and lower torso that required medical attention”.
The complaint said that when the aircraft landed there was no available medical treatment for her.
The parents of the girl have alleged that Aer Lingus failed to serve the tea “at a safe temperature” and failed to warn passengers of the “known dangers and the excessive and unreasonable temperature of the hot tea”.
They claim that the airline failed “to properly train flight attendants of the dangers of serving excessively hot tea to its passengers”.
The parents also said they would have to spend “great sums of money” on medical care and treatment for their daughter in the future.
Court papers show that the lawsuit was filed just two days after the alleged incident.
Aer Lingus has yet to lodge a defence. A spokesman for the airline said: “As the matter is before the courts, we have no comment to make.”
Earlier this year, the airline successfully fought another US lawsuit, in which it was sued for $1m (€876,000) after a Dutch woman alleged her “priceless” engagement ring and other valuables were stolen on a flight from New York to Amsterdam via Dublin.
In that case, a court found that claims based on the sentimental value of lost property were not actionable under the Montreal Convention, a set of international rules governing the compensation of airline passengers.