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New Jersey Dunkin' Donuts settles personal injury lawsuit for $522,000

A New Jersey woman won a $522,000 settlement in her case against a local Dunkin Donuts, after sustaining injuries from tripping over a spike in the parking lot, her attorney told CNBC Tuesday.

Maria Marsala was carrying a tray of hot coffee when she encountered a dislodged curb stop outside a Dunkin Donuts in Highland Park, New Jersey in January of 2012, court documents said. She tripped over the mis-placed metal rebar spike, burning herself with coffee and getting back and shoulder injuries that required surgery, according to her attorney, Ed Rebenack.

The case, which also named the property owner of the strip mall that contains several other stores, was slated to go to trial in late September.

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New York's NBC 4 first reported the story. Dunkin Donuts did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The suit against the fast-food breakfast and treats chain is far from the first to highlight the perils of a steaming morning pick-me-up. Both McDonald's and Starbucks, for example, have faced lawsuits in the past over burns from spilled coffee, with mixed results.

"Basic standards for parking lot maintenance are for the protection and safety of the general public," Rebenack told CNBC. "Allowing a metal spike to protrude out of the asphalt clearly violates these standards. Although it is never a replacement for health, Ms. Marsala is hopeful that the settlement will serve to remind business owners that their customer's safety should always be a priority."

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