Most of us are familiar with the story about the woman who sued McDonald’s after hot coffee spilled on her, causing severe burn injuries. It is often cited as a perfect example of what is wrong with the legal system of our country, in which an everyday citizen can manipulate the system for personal gain. But do we know the whole story?
Hot Coffee, a new documentary film, analyzes the facts of the situation for a new perspective. The movie investigates what exactly happened, in addition to why and how the lawsuit was given such a large amount of attention by the media, as well as how that effort was funded, by whom, and why. Based upon the film’s presentation of the true facts, viewers can reach their own conclusions regarding who the hot coffee incident truly profited.
The goal of the movie is to assist viewers in understanding how the opinion of the public about the nation’s legal justice system has been shaped by both corporations and the media. Several public relations campaigns that were funded by tobacco, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies have resulted in the public believing many false facts to be true. For instance, that the court system needs to be reformed since it is out of control, and that a large verdict for a plaintiff will impact the pocketbooks of jurors. As a result, the system is not unbiased. Hot Coffee argues that the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit and others similar to it were utilized to promote tort reform, as well as putting caps on medical malpractice claims while helping companies insist upon closed-door arbitration. The film attempts to fairly present the case’s facts and detail the impact it has had on society.
Hot Coffee was produced and directed by Susan Saladoff, who spent over 25 years practicing law. Saladoff represented injured victims who had been harmed due to corporate and individual negligence.