"Hot Coffee"and the Evils of Tort Reform
Edward NitkewiczJuly 09, 2011 11:03 AM
Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman ranked it in his top ten list. And more than fifteen years later, its infamy continues. Everyone knows the McDonald’s coffee case. It has been routinely cited as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of America’s legal system, but is that a fair rendition of the facts? Hot Coffee reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s, while exploring how and why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end. After seeing this film, you will decide who really profited from spilling hot coffee.
For those who have been injured or who represent individuals injured by negligence, medical malpractice, industrial or medical product defect, or dangerous, defective and under tested pharmaceutical drugs, I urge you to watch the new HBO Documentary Film, "Hot Coffee." http://hotcoffeethemovie.com More importantly, for those of you or your clients of yours who have not yet suffered as a result of the negligence of another, please make it a point to watch this film.
In a revealing treatment of "tort reform" or as it is sometimes called, "the attempt to destroy our civil justice system") the filmmakers detail the true facts behind the McDonald's Coffee case and three other individuals who suffered at the hands of politicians, their operatives, and of course, the big business interests they represent. It is disturbing to see the responses of ordinary people when asked about "the McDonald's Coffee case," caps on damages, mandatory arbitration clauses or other issues which impact their own right to seek redress in our civil justice system. However, seeing the reactions of those same individuals when presented with the facts from the Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants case, like the photographs of her burns, the video taped deposition of the risk management officer who candidly admits to a significant prior history of burn injuries, or confirmation of the fact that the coffee was required by McDonald's to reach a temperature of just below 200 degrees Fahrenheit, is unforgettable.
Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that many people mistake the United States Chamber of Commerce for the United States Department of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is the very powerful and very wealthy lobbying group of big business and Corporate America that funds the fight to limit citizens' right to compensation through the civil justice system. The Department of Commerce is a Cabinet Department of the United States Government concerned with promoting economic growth in our nation.
Those who criticize the McDonald's jury verdict or who support "tort reform" would be well served by taking the time to see this very important film.