Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee

Is Justice Being Served?

DVD - 2011
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Analyzes and discuses so called "frivolous law suits" and the impact of tort reform on the United States judicial system. Discusses several cases and relates each to tort reform in the U.S.: Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants (public relations campaign to instigate tort reform); Colin Gourley's malpractice lawsuit and caps on damages; the prosecution of Mississippi Justice Oliver Diaz and judicial elections; Jamie Leigh Jones v. Halliburton Co. and mandatory arbitration. Exposes how corporations spent millions on a propaganda campaign to distort Americans' view of lawsuits, forever changing the civil justice system. From the infamous case of the woman who sued McDonalds over spilled coffee to the saga of the Mississippi Supreme Court Justice deemed 'not corporate enough' by business interests, this program tears apart the conventional wisdom about 'frivolous lawsuits.'
Publisher: [United States] : Docurama Films : Distributed by New Video, c2011.
Edition: Widescreen version.
ISBN: 9781422973196
1422973190
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (DVD) (86 mins.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in.

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anonymouswe
Sep 24, 2018

I could not bring myself to give this documentary more than two stars. It is full of holes so large I just could not ignore them. My personal opinion regarding consumer protection may not go as far as the medical malpractice attorney filmmaker's, but we are generally on the same side. This film makes one wish any documentarian who intends to create a biased film would engage the services of an ace debate team to help them ensure they are not so biased they leave common sense out of their arguments. In a double blow for the credibility of this film, after Al Franken brought Jamie Leigh Jones to Congress to testify against mandatory arbitration: 1. Jamie Leigh Jones got her day in court (the reform was passed) and the jury sided with the company, against her, because it turns out there was no drug in her system and she had twice before alleged rape against someone else; and 2. Senator Franken had to resign in shame years later after he was himself accused by multiple women of sexual assault of the groping kind. The other holes are too numerous to document here (used Judge Diaz's election as an example of the attack by the Chamber of Commerce against judges who stand up for consumers, except that Diaz won the election!; referenced the cost of healthcare and doctor's insurance premiums going up after tort award limits were passed, as if that is the only factor, and the #1 factor, that affects the cost of medical care and insurance premiums; and on and on). There is no question that tort reform the way the businesses want it limits the right a consumer has when wronged. There is no question there are frivolous lawsuits. There is no question there is a middle ground that gives businesses protections against frivolous lawsuits while not unduly hindering a consumer's right to a day in court. Unfortunately, the strength of bias in this documentary results in a film that makes an argument, but that argument fails to pack any punch - and instead we are left with a shell of a film.

m
Miller1114
Jan 17, 2017

Great documentary! I wasn't expecting to learn so much from our judicial system from this case. If ever there was a cause to get involved and make changes to our system it is this film.

v
vlee123
Apr 23, 2016

One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Before this, I had the same view as most people..this is just a way greedy people to sue business for money. I changed my view after this seeing film. I feel horrible for the victims in the film and sympathize what what they are going through. Because of Tort Reform, real victims are not getting the justice they deserved.

a
akirakato
Oct 24, 2015

This is a 2011 documentary about the so-called "frivolous lawsuite," directed by Susan Saladoff, who has practiced as a medical malpractice attorney for 26 years.
The film analyzes and discusses the impact of tort reform on the United States judicial system.
The title is derived from the Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants lawsuit in which the plaintiff Liebeck was severely burned after spilling hot coffee purchased from a McDonald's into her lap.
She was originally awarded $2.86 million, but later reduced to the final verdict to $640,000.
The especially shocking case is Jamie Leigh Jones v. Halliburton Co.
According to Jamie Jones, on July 28, 2005, one of her fellow KBR (a subsidiary of Halliburton) employees offered her a drink containing a date rape drug.
While she was unconscious, several men engaged in an unprotected anal and vaginal gang-rape on her.
She says that "when she awoke the next morning still affected by the drug, she found her body naked and severely bruised, with lacerations to her vagina and anus, blood running down her leg, her breast implants ruptured, and her pectoral muscles torn, which would later require reconstructive surgery.
Upon walking to the rest room, she passed out again.
The KBR officials locked her in a trailer after she informed them of the rape and would not permit her to call her family.
After approximately one day, a sympathetic guard gave her a cell phone and she called her father who in turn contacted U.S. Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) who contacted the State Department.
She was rescured by the US agent.
I believe citizens must be protected by the rightful court system without statutory cap on any damages.

v
VRMurphy
Nov 26, 2014

Worth seeing, even if only for the full info on two of the more famous "frivolous" cases frequently cited (McDonalds coffee case, and the man who was seriously injured by a drunk driver and sued the phone company because he was in a phone booth at the time). The discussions re U.S. tort reform, and the politics thereof, are interesting in themselves but not particularly pertinent to viewers outside that legal system.

ravenheart Jul 28, 2014

One of the most important truths you should come to realize, while watching this, is in regards to your news sources. Think back to the TV and newspaper news coverage you saw of the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit. Did you ever see the photos of the elderly lady's extensive 3rd degree burns? (her burns covered what appeared to be about 1.5 square feet of the upper inner and back of her thighs on both legs -- these burns required skin graphs) If you didn't see those burn photos (or at least had them described to you in detail along with the other relevant details of the case) then you now know for certain you were intentionally deceived, and that you can't trust your news source. Every major media outlet portrayed this case as frivolous, even though the elderly lady was only asking for medical reimbursement costs and better lids on their coffee. (the large punitive damages were awarded by the jury and subsequently slashed to almost nothing by the judge) Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Stop watching and reading corporate propaganda masquerading as news. Much more than just our civil justice system is being damaged by everyday folks basing their opinions on bogus corporate propaganda.

K_ROK Jul 20, 2014

As per StarGladiator's comments, this doc is both important and informative. As a Canadian, I am always facinated by the liberties that the U.S. government takes to ensure the protection of big business and to quash the consumer. The settlements that were downgraded by the evil imposition of Tort legislation was astounding and shocking. I feel for any Americans that are going through this system and battling the high courts for a settlement that is rightfully theirs. This is a MUST see. Five stars!

s
StarGladiator
Jul 15, 2014

This is a most, most important film to watch, which exposes what is taking place behind the scenes to alter attitudes and thinking on the most important of subjects, the quality of lives, and actual lives, of the citizenry versus the corporations. The US Chamber of Commerce's shyster law firm, the National Chamber Litigation Center, has been around for quite awhile, and works in close conjunction with the Koch brothers' ALEC, or American Legislative Exchange Council. Today, our FBI director [appointed by a supposed democratic president] is uber neocon, James Comey, famous for not only taking down super criminal, Martha Stewart, but sat on the board of directors of the vicious National Chamber Litigation Center for five years!

kevfarley Apr 03, 2013

I thought this film would be fluff. BUT it was an amazing and scary eye-opener about deep-pocket manipulations to destroy our legal protections !! ...Please see it.

o
outside_of_a_dog
Apr 02, 2013

Worth watching if only for the truths behind the famous MCDonalds hot coffee case.

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