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Maruchan Instant Lunch Lawsuit Filed in North Carolina

January 23, 2014 — In North Carolina, a Maruchan Instant Lunch lawsuit has been filed by a mother whose 1 year-old daughter was severely burned and disfigured when a cup of noodles tipped and spilled boiling-hot liquid and ramen.

The girl was burned two years ago, while visiting her father, Jason A. Powell. After preparing the Maruchan Instant Lunch, Powell set it on the kitchen counter to cool. His 1 year-old nephew grabbed the cup, spilling its contents onto the girl.

She suffered second-degree burns on her groin, chest, shoulder, and back. Despite numerous reconstructive surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery, she has scarring on much of her back and lower body. The girl is now 4 years old.

The lawsuit was filed by the girl’s mother, Kimberly Buffkin, who alleges that Maruchan Instant Lunch is defectively designed and manufacturers have not done enough to warn about its risks.

Researchers have been warning for many years that instant noodle soup cups with a narrow base and tall height are prone to tipping over. One study, published in 2006, found that Maruchan Instant Lunch tips over at an angle of just 21.2% — much lower than bowl-shaped designs.

Other studies have shown that noodle soups are far more dangerous than liquid soups because noodles stick to the skin, burning the victim for a longer time. Children under 5 years old are especially vulnerable because their skin is thinner and more sensitive than an adult.

The Instant Lunch lawsuit was filed against Maruchan Inc. and its parent company, Toyo Suisan Kaisha of Tokyo. Last week, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

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