Hot Coffee

Sat, June 11th, 2011 @ 7:30 pm  ›  Dreamland Film Center  ›  810 E Market St

Hot Coffee lets the audience decide if spilling hot coffee is really as profitable as they believe.

What is the most famous legal case in American history? Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade? Ask anyone in the U.S. or abroad and they will likely tell you about a woman who spilled coffee on herself and collected millions of dollars. The McDonald’s coffee case became the poster child for so-called “frivolous” lawsuits in America.  Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld have made the case the punch line for jokes; there are even the “Stella Awards” (named for Stella Liebeck), given each year to the most outrageous and frivolous lawsuits. But if this case was so ridiculous, why did a jury award $2.9 million to this 79-year-old after a seven-day trial in 1994?

The McDonald’s coffee case has been routinely cited by the media as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of the legal system. In this documentary, you will learn what really happened to Stella and hear from her doctor, the lawyers, and the jurors. Was the media’s portrayal of this case fair or was there an agenda by tort-reform groups to create a public perception that lawsuits were out of control? How did it become the poster child for tort reform?

Directed By: Susan Saladoff


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