Trial Guides is pleased to distribute the new documentary Hot Coffee about the McDonald's coffee case to the legal community.
Have you ever been burned by jurors who believe the McDonald’s coffee case is proof that you are trying to hit the “lawsuit lottery” with a frivolous lawsuit?
Hot Coffee is an important documentary exposing big businesses’ relentless attack on the jury system. The movie covers how those seeking to deny citizens a right to a fair trial launched the tort reform campaign in the mid-1980s and have continued to spend millions of dollars per year to convince the public that we have out-of-control juries, too many frivolous lawsuits, and a civil justice system that needs reforming. They have used anecdotes, half-truths, and sometimes outright lies in their efforts to limit people’s access to a fair jury of their peers.
Hot Coffee reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, who sustained third degree burns on her vagina and thighs due to coffee that was so hot that McDonalds knew it had seriously burned 700 people before her. The movie dispels the myth that she was driving when the spill occurred, instead showing viewers Liebeck was in the passenger seat in a stopped car when when she removed the lid of her McDonald's coffee. This legal documentary shows how and why the case garnered so much media attention, which corporations funded the media blitz (particularly with conservative talk show hosts), and explains that Liebeck couldn't tell the truth about what had really happened to her due to a confidentiality agreement that was part of her post-trial settlement agreement.
The movie goes on to discuss the impact of the tort reform movement pushed by corporations, featuring:
Jamie Leigh Jones who was not allowed to file a lawsuit against her employer KBR (after being gang raped on the job by her co-workers) due to a binding arbitration agreement;
Judge Oliver Diaz who was relentlessly pursued by tort reform special instructs and lost his seat on the bench when big business donated heavily to his opponent;
Professor Tom Baker who is a leading scholar on insurance law and policy, and the author of The Medical Malpractice Myth which dispels the myth that medical malpractice insurance premiums result from unreasonable malpractice lawsuits;
Lawyer and legal author John Grisham, and more.