You’ve all heard about the McDonalds hot coffee law suit, right? You know, the one where the older woman spilled hot coffee in her own lap and then sued McDonalds and received a multi-million dollar award from a jury? That case has become the poster child for the big corporate and insurance industry attacks on plaintiff’s personal injury attorneys and “frivolous lawsuits”. Hmmmm.
There’s a wonderful documentary called “Hot Coffee” presently being aired on HBO that is very informative and highly worth watching. It tells the real story of what happened in the McDonalds coffee case, graphically portrays the nature of the physical harm suffered by the woman who felt compelled to sue to recover compensation for her very serious injuries when McDonalds wasn’t willing to hold itself accountable, and it reveals the hundreds of prior complaints that McDonalds had received about the extremely hot temperatures of its coffee by others who had suffered burn injuries and their failure to change their standard operating procedures.
The documentary then goes on to reveal how the United States Chamber of Commerce and other insurance and big business interests capitalized on the case to pursue courses of actions at both the federal and state levels to limit liability for big corporations in similar situations and even the efforts to elect conservative justices to various state courts to make certain that people with serious injuries were denied compensation and, ultimately, denied justice in the name of protecting the corporate coffers.
Finally, the movie portrays other victims of wrongdoing in various scenarios who have suffered at the hands of these repressive laws and practices.
If you think the trial lawyers are to blame, you may see things differently if you take the time to watch the documentary. It’s certainly bad enough when a person is injured as a result of someone else’s fault. What’s worse is when those injury victims are further victimized by the very system of justice that is supposed to protect them. As a plaintiff’s attorney, I’ve known this for years. Now it’s there for all to see.
Take a moment and watch “Hot Coffee“. It may very well open your eyes to what’s really going on out there. Let me know what you think.