Recently, I had a client tell me that she felt there were too many “frivolous” lawsuits filed in the United States. When I asked her to back up her statement, she referred to the lady who sued McDonalds after suffering injuries from spilled coffee. When I asked for other examples, my client could not think of any, but still had this belief, from this McDonalds coffee case, that people can cause harm to themselves and receive millions of dollars. My client told me that she thinks that lawsuits such as these drive up the costs for everyone else.
Unfortunately, this is a commonly held belief of many Americans, who hear about a sensational case on the news, and think there is an epidemic. This is no different than people watching the news, hearing about one crime, and immediately concluding that there is too much crime and feeling unsafe, even if overall crime is going down.
The media does not report about how much safer our lives are due to the fact companies are held financially responsible for their unsafe behavior. Without this regulation, companies would act with impunity, neglecting the safety of consumers, as can be seen by the unsafe business practices in many other countries. Instead, sensational stories get the headlines and attention.
Susan Saladoff’s documentary film, “Hot Coffee,” attacks the brainwashing that corporate America, especially very large billion dollar insurance companies, has inflicted on the American public. This film gives us the facts that many people do not know about the McDonalds coffee case. For instance, many people forget that this one incident occurred in 1992, over 20 years ago, but they still think that it represents an epidemic of lawsuits. Further, prior to this incident, McDonalds received hundreds of complaints that they were serving their coffee too hot, but did nothing to rectify it.
[For all the facts of the McDonalds coffee case, including answers to frequently asked questions, click here.]