Remember that woman who sued McDonald’s 15 years ago because she spilled hot coffee all over herself, burning her? People made a lot of fun of that case. It was used as an example of frivolous lawsuits in America, this country is going downhill, can’t believe she won, blah blah blah.
But why did that little lawsuit garner so much attention, especially if it was as frivolous as people claimed it was? And if the whole thing was so stupid, why did she win? How did she win?
The documentary Hot Coffee takes a look at the details and actual impact of the case. You’ll hear about how severe the woman’s burns actually were, how hot that coffee was (answer: VERY), how much of it was her fault, how that affected the payout, and more. It might sound like this would only be interesting to law students, but if nothing else it’s a great example of how we judge things before knowing all the details.
The McDonald’s case isn’t the only story outlined in this film – it’s one of four. Each story is about something messed up in the legal system. How much media can lead how we feel about a particular case, judicial elections, the dangers of liability caps, and mandatory binding arbitration clauses in contracts. Okay, it’s a little nerdy, but the reviews are pretty good so far.
Hot Coffee is showing tonight at 8:30pm at Lipscomb’s Ward Hall.